Deputies share key tip that will help solve child sextortion cases

Reporter: Corey Lazar Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Dangerous predators could be messaging your kids and blackmailing them with a method called sextortion, where a predator will threaten to reveal something personal if they don’t get what they want.

Deputies continue to fight against the sextortion of children as the problem becomes more pervasive.

The cyber tipline for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received more than 32 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in 2022.

Specific reports of online enticement of children for sexual acts blew up by more than 112% from 2020 to 2022.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Wade Williams said large cells of predators are spread out across the globe, creating entire networks.

“They’re in group chat rooms and chat boards, like the IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Telegram, a bunch of different places where they like to get together, and these large rooms and these large boards, and then they network with each other and talk about the kinds of things that they like, and how to share these files securely with each other the best way they can,” Williams said.

Predators cast a wide net, reaching out to hundreds of children and teens through apps, hoping to bait just one by sending a nude photo or video.

If your child becomes a victim, creating a safe environment for them to talk to you is important, but here’s the next thing to do…

“You need to immediately take the device from the child and not give it back to them because they will delete evidence if they can, because they’re embarrassed of what you might find,” Williams said.

Your child’s phone is crucial evidence to start the investigation to hunt down these predators.

Here is a list of child monitoring applications that can help parents control what information is sent to their children:

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