Recognizing Signs of Online Sexual Exploitation
Knowing the common terms and tactics exploiters use to manipulate people will help adults recognize online sexual exploitation and abuse:
Grooming is the name given to tactics used by exploiters to gain a victim's trust. They develop a relationship with the youth, often using specific strategies like:
Blackmail is when someone tries to get the youth to do something for them that they don’t want to do by threatening to hurt them. This includes saying they’ll release sexual photos/videos of the youth unless they do what they want.
Boyfriending/girlfriending is when an exploiter manipulates you a youth into thinking they’re in a relationship with them in order to win their trust. If you’re not sure if the relationship the youth is in is genuine, look for other signs of exploitation and abuse or an unhealthy relationship.
Love bombing is when an exploiter gives the youth an abundance of compliments and affection to gain their love and trust.
Luring is when a person uses online communication to contact someone they think is under 18, in order to make it easier for them to commit a sexual offence against that person.
Persistence is when someone keeps asking a youth for something, even when they repeatedly say “no.”
An exploiter may try to make the youth feel sorry for them, or guilty about something, in order to make it more likely they’ll do what they want.
SENDING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MAterial
An exploiter may send the youth unwanted sexually explicit material (pornography, nude photos of themselves, etc.) and try to convince the youth this type of unsolicited sexual behavior is acceptable.
Sextortion is when someone uses a sexual photo/video of you to blackmail or coerce you into doing what they want. For example, they may threaten to share a nude or semi-nude photo of you with your school or post it online unless you:
Additionally, the following may be warning signs of online sexual abuse or exploitation:
Learning More About Online Sexual Exploitation