As technology continues to evolve and reinvent itself, there are more and more concerns regarding its regulation, its uses, its purpose and its safety cropping up. These concerns are shared by casual users, parents, law enforcement, data collectors, software developers and many other groups. One of the most concerning issues is online sex crimes. It seems that there’s always a story in the news about online sex crime victims and you may be wondering if it’s on the rise and how you can stay safe.

Online Sex Crimes

Simply put, online sex crimes involve the victimization of somene through the Internet. It’s forced prostitution. It may involve pictures, videos, webcams or other digital media. Sex traffickers will sell pictures, videos, live-streams, etc. of their victims (who are typically forced to to comply) to online buyers. If you work with a seasoned sex crime lawyer you may be surprised at how far reaching these crimes are. But knowing the truth can help you better safeguard your family and get justice for your loved one. Sex crimes can also include someone using your image in a sexualized context without your consent. This is often called “sextortion.” As technology continues to build upon itself, more and more people are gaining access to the Internet, online sex crimes are increasing.

Online Safety

It is important to do your best to navigate online spaces safely. This includes virus protection, anti-spyware, very private networks (VPN), creating strong passwords, reading the fine print when installing programs and more. Never offer your personal and private data to strangers. It is important to understand that just as you can take measures to protect yourself and your personal data, predators, human traffickers and other victimizers can and do take advantage of many of the same safeguards, if not more. That is why it is imperative that you report any suspicious activity you find online immediately.

What to Do If You or Someone Else is Being Victimized

If you or someone you know has been or is being victimized, you are not powerless. If you don’t feel comfortable notifying law enforcement an attorney may be able to serve you and your needs. An attorney can help you get your content removed, connect you to resources to help heal trauma and get you justly compensated for your victimization. Although it may seem counterproductive, it is important that you do not attempt to share any content or illegal ads you find, especially if a minor is involved. Doing so is a federal offense. You can and should also report it to the platform on which you encountered it.

With the Internet continuing to evolve and sexual predators on the hunt, it is important to stay aware and implement online safety protocols to reduce the likelihood of being victimized. Teach your children and other children in your life how to be safe online. You can report to your local law enforcement, the National Human Trafficking Hotline or the NCMEC tip line. Speaking up could save a life or rescue a victim of sex crimes.

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