FBI Reports a Rise in Sextortion

June 11, 2024

Sextortion is a growing crisis according to the FBI, and teen boys are the primary target.

What is sextortion?

Sextortion involves an offender coercing a minor to create and send sexually explicit images or video. Offenders can also demand money from the child while threatening to share the sexually explicit images.

Although any child can be targeted, a perpetrator will typically pretend to be a female who wants to trade pictures with a teen boy. Once they have a picture from the targeted child, they will demand money or threaten to spread the images.

These crimes can lead victims to self-harm and have led to suicides. From October 2022 to March 2023, the FBI observed at least a 20% increase in reporting of financially motivated sextortion incidents involving minor victims compared to the same time period the previous year.

Victims are typically males between the ages of 14 to 17, but any child with internet access can become a victim.

Below are three ways you can help to prevent sextortion from happening to your children and loved ones:

  1. Have open conversations with your children and loved ones about their online time and understand that anyone can pretend to be someone else online.
  2. Monitor your child's online interactions, especially on gaming platforms and social media.
  3. Make sure your child knows you are a safe place to run to should they ever be taken advantage of online—this will diminish the risk of shame-induced self-harm.

Atlas Free is working to protect victims of online sexual exploitation. You can join the mission and help end sex trafficking and sexual exploitation with a gift today. Give monthly and change lives.

If you or someone you know believes that they are a victim of sextortion or financially motivated sextortion, you are not alone. You can report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or visiting tips.fbi.gov.

Sources: FBI and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children