Has someone you have only met online asked you to send them sexual photos and/or videos, or perform sexual acts via webcam? Is this person asking you to keep your contact secret, threatening to post the photos or videos of you on the internet or share them with your friends and family if you don’t send more or pay money?
This is a crime. It is called online sexual coercion and extortion.
Europol have launched a new campaign encouraging young people who are targeted by criminals to send sexual photos or videos of themselves, called #SayNo. To help launch the campaign, Europol have released a video highlighting these crimes, affecting both young males and females.
When targeting a minor, offenders have two main motivations:
- A sexual interest in children, where the objective of the extortive exchange is the procurement of sexual material (photos and/or videos depicting the child) or a sexual encounter offline.
- An economic interest, where the objective is to gain financially from the extortion.
Advice If You Are Affected
- Do not share more.
- Do not send the criminals any money.
- Look for help – tell an adult you know and trust about what has happened.
- Don’t delete anything – preserve any communications you have had with the criminal. Take screen shots of the messages, including any usernames, where they want the payment to be sent to.
- Stop the communications, and block the person – once all evidence has been saved, deactivate the account they are communicating with you on, but don’t delete it, so you can preserve any evidence.
- Update the privacy settings on all other social media – to stop the criminal getting in touch with you on other platforms.
- Report it to the Police.
More information about this crime can be found on the Europol website.
If you are a concerned parent, teacher, carer or peer, you can get advice on what you can do to help also on the Europol website.