Getting the facts on sextortion

Getting the facts on sextortion

| Mar 11, 2021 | Sex Crimes |

When someone provides an intimate partner with an explicit picture and the relationship goes sour, the partner might publicize the picture with the intention to humiliate the ex. This is an example of revenge porn. However, sometimes a person possesses an explicit image but has not publicized it, at least not yet. 

In certain situations, someone may threaten to post an explicit picture to force someone to provide some kind of service. Law enforcement labels such actions as sextortion. 

A look at sextortion

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, sextortion is not something a lot of people report because it is embarrassing. Nonetheless, this form of extortion can do great harm to a person who cannot escape it. The extortionist may demand a victim produce more explicit pictures as the price for keeping the initial picture confidential. Some abusers require their victims to engage in sexual activity. 

Sextortion can target youth

Sextortion does not only occur between adults who have had an intimate relationship. The FBI warns that teenagers and children are also at risk from sexual predators. Since young people use electronic devices to play games, do their homework and communicate with their peers, there are many ways for criminals to get access to unsuspecting teens. 

Predators can use a variety of methods. Usually, they lie about who they are, coupled with forms of manipulation or gifts to get a minor to produce an explicit image. The predator can then use the threat of exposing the image to coerce the minor to provide more content. 

Sextortion can incur high prison sentences

Law enforcement takes the exploitation of minors seriously. The FBI points out that a man found guilty of extorting a minor went to prison for an 18 year sentence. Even if a person threatens exposure of an explicit photo when it involves an adult, Maryland law may still impose a sentence of up to ten years. Many factors related to a sextortion case, such as the age of the person in an explicit picture, will affect the severity of the charges.