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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Sextortion

The Philippine Star

A 17-year-old in Scotland killed himself, according to reports, after falling victim to the latest cyber crime called “sextortion.” Members of the sextortion ring lure victims using Facebook and other social media.

Reports said that since last year, hundreds of victims in several countries had given in to blackmail, sometimes repeatedly, after being persuaded to post their sexually explicit photos or video online or engage in cyber sex. The ring then threatened to release the photos and recordings unless the victims paid up, with amounts demanded ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

The only positive news here is that the global crime ring has been busted, thanks to the combined efforts of the Interpol, the Philippine National Police and several countries whose citizens were among the victims. The bad news for our country is that the ring operated from the Philippines, with 58 Filipinos arrested and set to be indicted for offenses including extortion and child pornography.

It’s not the first time that an international sex ring has been found to be based or actively operating in the Philippines. Poverty has driven many Filipinos to the flesh trade, and even parents have trafficked their children for sex, making the country a magnet for pedophiles and other human traffickers. Filipino women who seek work as maids overseas have found themselves forced into prostitution.

The Internet has been a boon for the sex trade, and weakness in law enforcement added to the early appeal of the Philippines as a center for cyber porn. Laws have been passed to fight cyber crime, but this illegal activity often transcends borders. While the recent bust is bound to make the crime rings more careful, the sextortion is too lucrative to give up. There are surely similar activities going on, with children among the victims. The successful bust resulted from an international effort that should continue.

 

BUST

CRIME

CYBER

FACEBOOK

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

PHILIPPINES

RING

SEX

SEXTORTION

VICTIMS

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