Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced his Illinois Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force received training this week focused on sextortion-related offenses against children. The training, which was hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College, explained the long-term impact sextortion crimes have on victims, offered a victim-centered response and provided information on reporting these crimes.
Sextortion is a crime in which a predator uses an abuse of power, often a threat to expose explicit images, in order to pressure a victim to do something.
“Unfortunately, sextortion is an increasing trend my ICAC Task Force has seen firsthand. I am grateful we collaborated with the National Criminal Justice Training Center to make this training happen, ensuring that we are prepared to hold those accountable who take advantage of innocent children,” Raoul said. “I urge parents to not only talk to their children about online behaviors to avoid, but to take the next step in the conversation and encourage their children to speak up and ask for help if they are caught in this frightening situation.”
Just over 120 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and social workers participated in the one-day training, which was held in Naperville and Urbana this week. Along with defining sextortion and identifying extortion offender tactics, the training also described why youth are vulnerable to sextortion offenders and identified effective sextortion prevention messaging.
Raoul’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the ICAC Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased. In 2022, reports to the ICAC increased by 26% over 2021.
Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC task forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 175 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 32,500 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 485 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,960 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 1 million parents, teachers and students, in addition to more than 23,850 law enforcement professionals.
Raoul reminds the public that online child sexual exploitation can be reported at www.cybertipline.com, and child abuse can be reported at dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov. In addition, local child advocacy centers can be found at www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org.