ALERT warning about global sextortion crisis

There is a global sextortion crisis taking place in our country. That’s according to officials with ALERT. Law enforcement agencies have seen a large increase in the number of sextortion cases, where children are being coerced into sending explicit images online and then extorted for money.

The Canadian Centre For Child Protection says it receives 200 sextortion cases on average per month. This means 87 per cent of sextortion incidents reported are affecting boys between the ages of 10 to 17.

Detective Steve Brighton with the Internet Child Exploitation Unit talked about the rising number of sextortion cases that are being seen through Project Compass.

“We’ve investigated approximately 150 case files, and that includes ones that are reported directly to us from municipal police agencies from the RCMP, and then we get a large number from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S. And that comes through the RCMP in Ottawa when they’re assigned to us. We are working with numerous law enforcement agencies worldwide. The RCMP, the Australian Federal Police, the United Kingdom Department of Homeland Security, as well as the FBI, because it’s really a global problem right now. There’s thousands and thousands of reported cases to date.”

The release from ALERT provided tips if you or someone you know is being sextorted:

  • Remember, the predator is to blame, not the child;
  • Stop all communication with the offender;
  • Do not delete your social media account, messages, or images because these can help law enforcement;
  • Save a copy of any images you sent, and take screenshots of the messages, including the person’s profile including username;
  • Get help before sending money or more images. Cooperating rarely stops the blackmail and harassment, but police can;
  • Trust your instincts and practice caution when communicating online;
  • Reach out to a trusted adult, and report what happened through or to your local police like the Lethbridge Police Service. By reporting, you can help to keep other teens safe as well.

Micah Quinn

After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a Broadcasting Diploma, Micah made the trek down to Lethbridge to work for Bridge City News. He has previously worked at City TV Calgary on the Breakfast Television morning show. He looks forward to connecting with this community, and reaching a new audience. Micah has a passion for interviewing and finding out why people think the way they do. You’ll often find him pursuing local feature stories and hard news.

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