Tuesday 17 October 2017

Extortion of children who share explicit selfies rises 600pc

'Detective Sergeant Mike Smyth, from the Garda Online Child Exploitation Unit, said while the force dealt with 50 cases five years ago, this figure had jumped to 3,000 this year' (stock photo)
'Detective Sergeant Mike Smyth, from the Garda Online Child Exploitation Unit, said while the force dealt with 50 cases five years ago, this figure had jumped to 3,000 this year' (stock photo)
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Gardaí have seen a 600pc increase in the number of cases of online extortion and coercion of children over a five-year period, it has emerged.

Detective Sergeant Mike Smyth, from the Garda Online Child Exploitation Unit, said while the force dealt with 50 cases five years ago, this figure had jumped to 3,000 this year. He was speaking at Zeminar, a conference for the post-millennial Generation Z in Dublin's RDS, where he warned youngsters to be careful of people who ask for sexually explicit images online.

Harvest

"People do this to harvest these images.

"They share them with paedophiles online, they share them with image-saving websites and file sharing," he said.

Det Sgt Smyth spoke about the level of extortion young people could suffer after their images have been obtained.

"They start looking for money. The normal figure they look for is €50 to €100. But they keep coming back, it's never that easy."

The education, empowerment and well-being event is aimed at 15 to 20-year-olds as well as teachers and parents.

Today is the final day of the event.

Irish Independent

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