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One abuser collected images of his blackmailed victims in a folder named “slaves”.
A British teenager is one of seven young people who have killed themselves over blackmail.
Thousands of British children have been targeted by internet blackmailers, with many forced to use webcams to film themselves performing sex acts or self-mutilation because they fear having their naked pictures sent to their families, child protection experts warn today.
The blackmailing of children has emerged as a fast-growing new method employed by sadistic abusers who operate behind fake profiles on social networks to take advantage of youthful sexual experimentation and snare their victims, driving some to self-harm and even suicide.
Police analysis of computers reveals that, before befriending a child they intend to groom for online abuse, perpetrators often research the victim’s location, school and other details, so as to present a convincing picture of themselves as a local young adolescent.
Children as young as eight are being targeted, according to Ceop.
Daniel Perry, 17, of Dunfermline, Fife, leapt from the Forth Road Bridge in July.
In one online conversation retrieved by the authorities, an abuser tricked his victim and then became increasingly aggressive, saying he did not care if the boy killed himself. The practice appears to be a new, more menacing development in the world of cyber-bullying.Children have been forced to film themselves on webcams as they write degrading statements on their bodies or cut themselves, says Ceop.Such grooming often starts on open chat forums before moving to private areas where the talk swiftly becomes more explicit.The threats usually start after children have been tricked into posting compromising pictures of themselves that they fear could be distributed more widely.A single police operation discovered that one small ring of paedophiles overseas had pressured more than 300 children, including 96 in Britain, into performing live sex acts online.
Some of the youngsters attempted suicide when they were threatened with having their behaviour made public, according to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).