According to a recent report by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, sextortion crimes against children are sharply on the rise, and teenage boys make up the bulk of the victims. The Winnipeg-based organization reports that 322 cases were opened in July 2020, compared to just 15 cases in July 2019 and 85 cases in July 2021. Ninety-two percent of the 322 instances from last month involved youths or young men.
According to Stephen Sauer, director of Cybertip.ca at the CCCP, the centre used to see a lot of cases of girls and young women being blackmailed for compromising images.
He claimed that many of these crimes include extorting money from teenage guys by using social media sites like Snapchat or Instagram to assume the identity of a young lady. “Realizing that youth, especially boys at this age, are vulnerable to manipulation tactics to get them to engage in sexual acts online … biologically, they basically move too quickly comply with these kind of requests,” he said. “There’s a lot of shame associated with this, so then they will also comply with paying to hopefully mitigate the distribution of that image or video.”
Police departments worldwide have issued urgent warnings about sextortion involving boys and young men due to the surge in this form of crime. At the end of July, the Nova Scotia RCMP issued one of these alerts in response to a significant number of allegations of targeted sextortion involving both boys and girls for financial gain.