Sextortion cases have skyrocketed in Canada

Cases of sextortion have skyrocketed in Canada

The phenomenon has continued to grow since the death of young Amanda Todd in British Columbia in 2012.

The number of cases of Sexual extortion has increased significantly during the pandemic and is reaching alarming levels, experts warn. They want greater public awareness and stronger laws and regulatory framework.

According to data released this week by Statistics Canada, the number of extortion cases reported to police in Canada has jumped nearly 300% in almost a decade. Much of this increase has been seen during the pandemic.

Sextortion is a crime that caught the eye of Canadians when a 15-year-old girl in British Columbia, Amanda Todd, committed suicide in 2012 after being stalked by a bully hiding behind her anonymity.

On Saturday, a Dutchman, Aydin Coban, was found guilty in the case of charges of extortion, harassment and attempted child luring online as well as charges of possession of child pornography.

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Signy Arnason, of the Canadian Center for Child Protection (CCPE), points out that the phenomenon has not stopped growing since the death of young Todd.

“It's out of control. »

— Signy Arnason, Canadian Center for Child Protection

Police services have repeatedly issued new warnings to the public against sextortion.

Sadly, police around the world have seen situations like this end tragically in the victims' suicides, Corporal Mark Sobieraj of the Anti-Exploitation Unit wrote just last week. ;children on the Internet from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

We urge parents and guardians to discuss possible dangers with children and emphasize the importance of them coming to you for help. help, said Corporal Sobieraj.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of cases of non-consensual distribution of intimate images increased by almost 9% in 2021 compared to the previous year. This is an increase of 52% compared to the average of the previous five years.

“Social networks and other digital service providers contribute to these increases worrying. It's an alarm bell.

—Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Center for Child Protection

Cybertip.ca says an unprecedented number of teens and, at times, concerned parents [have] reported cases of sextortion characterized by aggressive tactics. Thus in July, 322 cases were opened for victims of sextortion.

The analysis revealed the emergence of a new tactic whereby the sextorker behind the fake account sends child sexual abuse images to the victim. [He] will then threaten to report the victim to the police on the pretext that they are in possession of illegal images. Requests for money will follow immediately, the site said in a statement.

Research tends to show that victims often prefer to remain silent.

According to David Fraser, a Halifax lawyer, one of the reasons for this phenomenon lies in the victims' fear of being charged with possession of child pornography, even if it is a photo. of themselves. This is a widespread misconception among the public, even among law enforcement.

We have to be very careful about the message we want to send to these Young people. Just tell them there are safe places they can go to and get help if things escalate, he says.

Mr. Fraser recalls that the Supreme Court of Canada established in 2001 an exemption from the articles of the Criminal Code on the possession of pornographic material.

The highest court in the land then ruled that teenagers had the right to create intimate images of themselves as long as they did not show these teenagers engaging in consensual illegal sexual activity and were kept private.

Federal Heritage Department says government is developing strategy to combat content harmful online. This could include the creation of a regulatory body.

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