About Online Child Sexual Exploitation
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What is Online Child Sexual Exploitation?
Online child sexual exploitation (OCSE) is one of the most disturbing public safety issues facing society today. It continues to harm past and present generations of children in Canada and abroad. Online child sexual exploitation includes:
- Child sexual abuse material - Actual, but also fictitious, written depictions of child sexual abuse, audio, video, and images, also known as child pornography;
- Self-generated materials and sexting – Youth-generated explicit images/videos on the Internet, which are often further distributed without consent;
- Sextortion – Use of coercion and threats to extort child sexual exploitation images/videos from youth (either by other youth or adult offenders), or “financial” sextortion where predators threaten to release the compromising material unless the victim sends payment;
- Grooming and luring – Use of applications and platforms to connect with children and youth for the purpose of sexually exploiting them;
- Live child sexual abuse streaming – Viewing of child sexual abuse in real-time, often involves the offender directing the abuse; and
- Made-to-order content – Ordering videos/images to suit offenders' preferences.
Statistics on Online Child Sexual Exploitation
Online child sexual exploitation and abuse is on the rise in Canada.
Since 2014 when national cybercrime data first became available, the number of police-reported incidents where the victim was identified have nearly tripled. From 2019 to 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents increased by 25%.
- Seven in ten victims identified in online sexual offences against children are girls aged 12 to 17.
- Nine in ten people accused of online child sexual exploitation and abuse were men and boys—and they were generally much older than victims, except in cases of distribution of intimate images online. In these instances, victims and the accused are an average of 15 years old.
- Luring a child accounted for the large majority (77%) of online sexual offences against children.
- More than two-thirds (68%) of child pornography incidents involved making or distributing child pornography and about one-third (32%) were possessing or accessing child pornography.Footnote1
But with only a fraction of incidents brought to the attention of police and the courts, the scale of this problem in our society is greater than official data suggests
- Between 2014 and 2020, Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tip line, processed over 4.3 million child sexual exploitation reports.
- Reports of sextortion to Cybertip.ca have increased dramatically, jumping 150% since June 2022.
- Cybertip.ca data shows that reports of online sexual luring of Canadian kids up 815% in the last five years.
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