Child Pornography and Sextortion

New York sex abuse victim attorney, James Marsh, explains why child pornography is different from sexting, sextortion, and revenge porn.

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What we’re seeing now in dealing child pornography is that a lot of these things that we’re hearing about in the media, child sex abuse, sexting, child pornography and what we call sextortion, which is a term that most people have not heard. All of these things are really sort of merging together to involve what’s basically digital exploitation of children. So for example, as I discussed, not all of sexting involves child pornography but a lot of it does. There’s also a new phenomenon out there called sextortion where individuals, mostly children and young people, sometimes very young teenagers or even kids in elementary school are being approached on social media by predators seeking images that they can then use to basically extort or sextort more images from these what are essentially children. Sexually explicit images and other demands that are basically what we call sextortion or extortion demands. Yes, these images are child pornography. Yes, this is a variation of sexting because the individuals, children are making these images for someone else.

But this by no means making these individuals criminals and that’s he earliest question that children have when they’re involved in this kind of situation is will I get in trouble for sending these nude images to somebody that I thought was a 16-year old boy, somebody that I thought would be my boyfriend. Somebody that then is really extorting me for more images. And what victims need to realize that when they’re involved in this whether it’s involuntary child pornography, whether it’s more voluntary kinds of sexting, whether it’s sextortion under threats or any combination of these that these victims have a right to seek help. Whether it be through the criminal justice system, civil justice system, or even Title IX applies when they’re sexting and this kind of sextortion that happens in schools. So what you can see with our work it all seems very disconnected and yet it all is very connected in ways that we’re only beginning to realize.

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