FBI offices in Detroit, Michigan recently released an important report that warns us about the increasing threat of sextortion and online exploitation.
There have been increasing incidents of sextortion involving young children where adults pose as young girls and “coerce young boys through social media to produce sexual images and videos” (FBI.) The victim is then threatened with exposure unless they pay. This is sextortion, and the FBI reminds us that this is a crime: “The coercion of a child by an adult to produce what is considered Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) carries heavy penalties, which can include up to life sentences for the offender (FBI.)
The FBI offered some tips to help us create online boundaries to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
To stop victimization, victims must come forward and ask for help. However, the embarrassment associated with activities like this can prevent a child from seeking help. Being a safe point of contact for children in your life can help create the connections necessary for a victim to come forward and seek help. “The most effective way to stop these criminals is by preventing young people from becoming victims. We can do that through awareness, education, and having important—and sometimes difficult—conversations with the young people in our lives,” said Special Agent James A. Tarasca of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.
Visit the link in our bio to read the full report from the FBI and learn more about how to prevent online exploitation and sextortion. If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of sextortion, call the FBI’s Detroit Field Office at 313-965-2323 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. You can also file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-THE-LOST or cybertipline.org).