Blackmail with sexualized images

The right to sexual self-determination and the right to one's own image can be violated if the distribution of intimate or sex-related media content is threatened. The content may be genuine or manipulated by AI. 

Sextortion

Sextortion refers to sexual blackmail via the internet. The term is made up of the words "sex" and "extortion". People usually contact their victims online in order to obtain sexually explicit images of them. They then threaten to publish the material in order to obtain money or further recordings.

In another form of sextortion, victims receive messages claiming that they are already in possession of intimate recordings. Perpetrators claim, for example, to have "hacked" a device belonging to the person concerned and to have come across the material in the process. In these cases too, victims are usually asked to send money.

In view of the rise in deepfakes on the internet, experts are also warning of sextortion cases in which AI-generated content is used as a means of blackmailing those affected. Further information on the topic of artificial intelligence and sexual violence can be found on the page Deepnudes & Deepfake porn.

Sextortion is punishable as a form of blackmail. If it involves images of children or young people, it is also a criminal offense for the creation, possession or distribution of child or youth pornography.

I am affected by sextortion. What now?

  • Stay calm: Anyone affected by sextortion should not take any hasty steps and should try to remain calm.
  • Secure evidence: It is important to take legally compliant screenshots of chat histories and messages or of the person's account. HateAid explains what you need to bear in mind. Caution: Never take screenshots of child or youth pornography!
  • Break off contact, report, block: You should immediately break off contact with the person who is blackmailing you and stop responding to messages. This person should also be reported and blocked on the respective platform.
  • Report child and youth pornography: If it involves recordings of people under the age of 18, these can also be reported at www.internet-beschwerdestelle.de or jugendschutz.net.
  • Do not transfer money: Under no circumstances should you respond to the demands and pay money. As a rule, the blackmail does not stop after that, but rather intensifies.
  • Use Take It Down or StopNCII: These two services help prevent intimate images from being uploaded to participating platforms. Take It Down is aimed at people under the age of 18 and StopNCII.org is aimed at people aged 18 and over. You can find more information in our news article.
  • Press charges: It is advisable to go to the local police station and press charges. This is because sexual blackmail is illegal. Make sure you secure the evidence beforehand.
  • Get help: You don't have to do everything alone. Those affected can ask a trusted person or counseling services for help.