The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Hawkesbury detachment said officers were investigating the luring of a child over the internet for sexual purposes. In a statement, the OPP said similar reports had been received across the province about children targeted for sexual exploitation via live video feeds.
In some of the incidents, the perpetrators posed as fellow young people and solicited images or video from underage residents over the internet. The connections started on social media, then moved to live video feeds where the victims engaged in sexual behaviours that the offenders secretly recorded.
Provincial Constable Mario Gratton asked parents and caregivers to speak with their teenagers about the risks of abuse over the internet, and encourage them to speak up if they received threats online. “While many teens understand the dangers associated with recording and sharing sexual images and videos, they are not as aware of the risks associated with live video feeds,” he said.
“With relative ease, anyone can capture a still image or video of a person sexually exposing themselves – all without the other person’s knowledge. The transfer of images and videos between person A and B may be intercepted by people such as pedophiles and other predators who may use the information to intimidate, blackmail or threaten.”
Parents and teachers were encouraged to visit websites such as The Door That’s Not Locked at thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca and The Canadian Centre for Child Protection at protectchildren.ca. Both sites provided resources and information about how to protect young people from online predators, sexting, as well as how to promote healthy relationships and appropriate boundaries.