Blue Line

Toronto Police Service joins international law enforcement agencies to issue joint warning about global financial sextortion crisis

February 7, 2023  By Blue Line Staff / Toronto Police Service

Feb. 7, 2023, Toronto, Ont. – The Toronto Police Service, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), Australian Federal Police (Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation [ACCCE]), Canadian Centre for Child Protection, FBI, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (RCMP), New Zealand Police, the Virtual Global Taskforce, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint warning about a global financial sextortion crisis.

The agencies have seen a major increase in financial extortion, where minor boys around the world are being coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money. On average, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection receives 200 sextortion reports per month through, with 87 per cent of sextortion incidents reported affecting boys. Therefore, all agencies are urging youth and caregivers to educate themselves about this crime and help us protect others from being victimized.

Financial sextortion can happen anywhere, although it mainly occurs on digital platforms where children are spending their screen time. Anyone can be victimized through their phones, gaming consoles and computers by way of social media, gaming websites or video chat. On these platforms, predators often pose as girls of a similar age and use fake accounts to target young boys, deceiving them into sending explicit photos or videos. The predator then threatens to release the compromising materials unless the victim sends payment, however in many cases, the predator will release the images anyway.

Even though financial sextortion is committed virtually, it can have serious impacts offline. After the threats and aggression, victims may feel alone, ashamed, scared, and these feelings can lead to self harm. Law enforcement around the world wants victims to know they are not in trouble, they are not alone, and there is life after pictures.


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