Criminals targeting sex workers to blackmail their clients
Criminals are approaching Dutch sex workers to buy the telephone numbers of their clients. The criminals then blackmail the clients through WhatsApp - they have to pay over 1,000 euros, or their contact with sex workers will be made public, Pointer reported based on its own investigation.
Pointer saw multiple messages to sex workers, offering 300 euros for 1,000 numbers. The program also found several victims who have been blackmailed or harassed.
Victims get a message that starts like this, translated from Dutch: "Listen, dude, I'm only going to tell you this 1 time. Stop Sexjobs. Because you really don't want this to get out of hand and for me to ruin your life." When the victim responds, he's told that he has to pay 1,250 euros or have his contact with a sex worker made public.
According to Pointer, the victims don't have much to worry about. As far as its investigators can tell, the criminals only have a phone number they know had contact with a sex worker. Pointer and the victims it spoke to found no evidence that the criminals had any more personal information.
The program spoke to a sex worker who got the offer to sell her clients' telephone numbers. She also knows that several colleagues got the same offer. "I would never do that myself. You don't do that to people. But I know colleagues with thousands of euros in rent arrears. Then you may have to make more questionable choices," she said.
Pointer also spoke to multiple victims. Most said they didn't pay the blackmailers and reported the extortion to the police. "I don't have that much of a problem with it myself," one victim said. The people he's close to know about his visits to sex workers. "I have a hard shell. I'm used to a lot in my life. But others may have a wife and children. And they can't sleep because of this. I think that sucks. That people can sink so low to get money."
The police could not comment to Pointer because this is an ongoing investigation.