Sextortion: Unveiling the Dangers of Online Exploitation!

Robin Hassler Thompson, JD MA - Executive Director, The Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC) | Marina Anderson - Human Trafficking Coordinator, Northeast and Northwest Regions, Florida Department of Children and Families

June 17, 2022

Training Description

Investigators have seen a massive surge in the number of cases involving youth being threatened and coerced by adults into sending explicit images online or via social media. This is a crime called sextortion, punishable under federal and state laws. Sextortion can begin on any computer site, social media site, app, or game where people meet and communicate. Often used by traffickers, this crime starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship or offering something of value. In these cases, the criminal claims that they already have a revealing picture or video of a child that they will share if the victim does not send more.The adult will use threats, gifts, money, flattery, lies, or other methods to get a young person to send an image. After the criminal has one or more videos or pictures, they threaten to publish that content, or they threaten violence, to get the victim to comply with their demands. The shame, fear, and confusion children feel can prevent them from asking for help or reporting the abuse. This program will help caregivers and others with youth to understand how the crime occurs and how to openly discuss online safety with their children.