Teens arrested in 28 accusations of sexual extortion

Over the past months the police arrested a 14 teenagers and a 19-year-old man from Leiden and its surroundings in an investigation into sexual extortion. So far 28 victims reported to the police that teenagers were extorting them, threatening to post sexual photos of them online if they don't pay them money, the police said in a statement.

The victims range in age between 14 and 48 years. The police believe there are many more victims, and that this group of teenagers extorted around 100 thousand euros from the victims.

According to the police, the teenagers' method involves one or more perpetrators approaching their victims through social media, often presenting themselves as women. As soon as the conversation takes on a sexual form, the victim is asked to send a nude photo of himself. Once this happens, the perpetrators threaten to send the nudes to the victims' social media contacts if he does not pay. 

The victim is instructed to transfer money into a bank account, often belonging to another of the suspects. If the victim does not pay, pressure is exerted on him. A third offender would often approach the victim's contacts. The group of suspects also used "money mules" - people, often minors, who make their bank accounts available for extorted funds to be paid into. They usually receive a small fee for this. 

The investigation started in August of this year, after a victim reported to the police station in Leiden. The latest arrests were made this past week - a 19-year-old man from Leiderdorp and six teenage boys from Leiden were arrested.