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  • Seoul Provides Full Support for Child and Juvenile Victims of Digital Sex Crimes

  • Press Releases SMG 33
    • The Seoul Metropolitan Government will establish an integrated support center for digital sex crimes early next year to provide comprehensive support, such as prevention programs, professional counseling services, and deletion of illegal footage
    • The center will hire IT specialists to help erase the illegal footage and further develop relevant technologies and develop technologies to erase images from social.
    • The SMG will open a hotline for victims and provide one-stop services and also assign 100 experts to provide legal support and psychotherapy free of charge.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 7, 2021 – According to a survey conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) on 4,012 elementary to high school students, one out of five (856 students, or 21.3%) turned out to have been directly exposed to the risks of digital sex crimes, mostly through online chats or social media.

    56.4% of the respondents who have been exposed to digital sex crimes said they had received sexual images or messages. 27.2% said they were constantly sent messages and asked for offline meetings. 4.8% said perpetrators spread or threatened to spread their intimate images online. 4.3% responded that they were asked for a sexual image or sexual intercourse for money.

    In the survey, 47.6% of female respondents agreed that it is imperative to introduce measures to delete illegal footage so that it is not further shared online. Particularly, 51% of female high school students raised their voices for supportive measures for deletion.

    Based on the survey result, the SMG decided to mobilize its support for the child and juvenile victims and establish an integrated support center for digital sex crimes. The center will provide comprehensive support, such as prevention programs, professional counseling services, and deletion of illegal footage—most needed by the victims. It will consist of three teams in charge of counseling support, digital erasure, and the creation of a preventive environment, respectively. In total, there will be 15 officials in charge.

    The center will hire IT specialists to help erase the illegal footage and further develop relevant technologies. Seoul will develop technologies to erase images from social media first, as illegal images previously shared through online storage services known as “webhards” are now shared on social media platforms.

    In addition, the city government will create a hotline for victims and provide one-stop services. Since most victims do not know how to deal with digital sex crimes, the hotline will be of much help. Seoul will also assign 100 experts to help the victims. The experts will provide legal support and psychotherapy free of charge.

    After analyzing the survey, the SMG concluded that the risks of digital sex crimes targeting minors—the prime example is the “Nth room case”—are ncreasing as young students spend more time on the Internet. Notably, “Online grooming,” where abusers exploit victims by taking hostage of their private information, is increasing. As a result, threatened victims have no choice but to send more images to the abusers.

    In the survey above, 27.5% of respondents said they did not take any steps against the crime. Furthermore, most actions taken remained passive on a personal level, with 25.9% blocking the perpetrators’ account and 15% stopping using the social media where they were offended.

    78.5% of respondents said the biggest reason for passive reaction lied in “lack of information and resources,” and 11.7% chose “absence and distrust of the response system.”

    Kim Seon-soon, Deputy Mayor for Women & Family Policy Affairs, promised, “With the newlybuilt integrated support center that provides systematic support from prevention to deletion, we will lay the groundwork for a Seoul free from digital sex crimes.”