Child sex offenders prey on Australian boys for cash

A growing number of Australian boys are being blackmailed into paying ‘impossible’ sums of money to online predators who pretended to be a teenager to trick them into sending nude photos and compromising videos.

The twist of demanding money was a sinister new tactic increasingly used by international sex offenders on unsuspecting and vulnerable minors and teenagers, the Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation has warned.

Reports involving boys who had been trained to produce explicit images and then extorted for money have more than quadrupled in the past year, according to the Australian Federal Police.

Predators often manipulate boys into engaging in explicit activities on camera, which they then covertly record and use to extort money from victims. (Getty/iStockphotos)

“Tactics can vary, but child molesters often pose as girls and befriend boys through social media, image-sharing apps or online games,” said ACCCE commander Hilda Sirec told AFP, explaining the techniques used to target victims.

Once the couple connected, the “girl” would ask them to communicate privately and engage in sexualized conversations before sending explicit images of themselves, which often came from a victim of previous offences.

The boy is then asked to send nude pictures or videos back.

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Sirec said the predator could also manipulate the boy into engaging in explicit activity on camera, which was secretly recorded.

“These predators reveal they had images of the child in compromising positions and are demanding money in exchange for not sharing the sight with family and friends or posting it online,” a- she declared.

“We’ve seen predators initially demand an incredibly large sum of money and then negotiate with the victim for a lower amount than they could actually pay.”

Hiding the crime from their families, victims will often make payment through wire transfers, in online games, gift cards, or cryptocurrencies.

Once that money was paid, the predator would demand even more money, she said.

Any images and videos submitted by minors will often end up on child pornography forums on the dark web.

“They are not deterred by the age of the victim,” Sirec said.

“They only care about the profit they can make.”

Law enforcement around the world is seeing a rise in the number of boys being blackmailed for money, and AFP has identified a growing trend of self-production child exploitation equipment – where young people are forced to take naked photos of themselves and send these images by e-mail or SMS.
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“These crimes have devastating effects on children and their families,” Sirec said.

“These offenders are very manipulative and will threaten and scare children to get what they want, including telling victims they will get in trouble with law enforcement if they tell.”

Cases of sexual extortion involving children (under the age of 18) can be reported to accce.gov.au/report or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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