Online child sexual abuse rising

The number of reports of children and young people being sexually abused online in the Netherlands increased again last year. Hotline Help Wanted received over 1,500 of online sexual abuse of minors, about 200 more than in 2014. In 2013 there were only 750 reports, the organization confirmed to news wire ANP after reports by broadcaster NOS.

Help Wanted noticed a significant increase in the number of reports of blackmail through nude videos or photos. In 2014 there were 427 such cases, last year there were 721. The blackmail reports mainly came from boys and young men, leading the organization to believe that this group is being targeted in an organized context.

"In all cases it involves boys and men who had online contact with a nice looking lady and had webcam sex with her", a spokesperson for the hotline said to ANP. "In some cases it is likely prostitutes who were hired for this purpose. The image is that it is mainly girls who fall victim to this type of extortion, but meanwhile half of the cases involves boys."

The blackmailers threaten victims by saying they will put the nude photos or videos of them online if they don't pay over money. According to Help Wanted, the amounts demanded range from a few euros to thousands of euros. "It even seems that the age of the victim is taken into account with the requested amount."

The number of reports involving very young children, kids between the ages of 8 and 12 years, also increased last year - 29 reports compared to 20 in 2014. During the first four months of this year, the hotline already received 13 reports involving young children.