Child sex offenders in Australia are adopting a disturbing new tactic to send nude photos of children under the age of 10.
Online game currency, cash and food are being offered to children under the age of 10 for sending nude or sexually explicit images to poachers.
In a disturbing new trend, the Australian Federal Police has urged parents and caregivers to be vigilant.
The Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation, led by AFP, has received an increase in reports over the past few months of children self-producing child abuse material for financial incentives.
This is a different tactic from online child sex offenders, who typically use emotionally coercive tactics.
In addition to in-game currency on popular online games, these financial incentives can include money, food delivery and vouchers.
Investigators have found an increase in cases, particularly involving young adolescents.
AFP commander Hilda Sirek of AFCE said school holidays usually lead to an increase in reports as children spend more time online without supervision.
“Once an image is shared, it can end up anywhere, including some of the most corrupt dark web child abuse forums in the world, as criminals often circulate the images among themselves,” Commander Sirek said.
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“Disturbingly, we also know that criminal networks routinely trade information about particular users of social media who are susceptible to incentive or coercion, which will lead to repeated contact requests from other predators.
Commander Sirek is urging parents to sit down and talk with their children about the types of conversations they are having online and with whom.
“It’s important that parents have these conversations with their child in an open, non-judgmental way,” she said.
“Make sure your child is comfortable coming to you if a problem arises and make it clear that nothing is so bad that they can’t tell you or another trusted adult.”
Commander Cyrek said parents should be aware of telltale signs that their children may be falling prey to new trends, such as unexplained food delivery or having extra money in children’s accounts.
AFP has a Family Online Safety Agreement Where the parent and child can sign an agreement to set boundaries and expectations for being online.
If parents are concerned about an issue happening online, they can report it enter Via the Report Abuse button.
go towards thinkukeno For AFP’s online safety program.
Members of the public who have any information about child abuse and those involved in exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.