The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is currently involved in an ongoing investigation, conducted with national and international partners, which has resulted in the arrest and detention of an individual in Kuwait for the suspected sexual abuse of children.
The investigation has been co-ordinated by CEOP, working with the authorities in the UK, Kuwait and its representatives in the UK, as well as a number of other law enforcement agencies around the world. It relates to a non-UK offender who hacks into the online accounts of children and young people, threatening and forcing them to perform sexual acts on web cam. CEOP believes this activity has been going on since 2008.
CEOP are working with the media to identify as many victims as possible and for them to have the opportunity to seek appropriate advice and support.
Children and young people who think they may have been targeted are being encouraged to call an NSPCC helpline that has been set up – 0800 614 458 – where they can speak to specialist NSPCC staff, all of whom are fully briefed in relation to the investigation.
West Yorkshire Police contacted the CEOP Centre in March 2011 regarding a suspect who had targeted a young girl online. Police enquiries established a number of victims who described performing sexual acts online, which has resulted in a number of UK Police Forces now being involved.
CEOP spokesperson said:
Generally, the offender’s method has been to use an instant messenger service and pretend to be a friend of the targeted a victim. During subsequent conversations, the offender directed victims to an internet link. When clicking on this link, victims were asked to provide their e-mail account(s) and password(s), allowing the offender to take control of their login information. The offender was then able to take control of and hack of the victims’ accounts, changing their passwords and security information.
The offender would then inform the victims’ that their account had been hacked and they no longer had control of it. The offender continued the threats, saying that personal information about them would be sent to friends and family on the internet, unless they continued to perform sexual acts via the webcam.
If you think you or a friend has been a victim of the above crime, or wish to discuss any related concerns in greater detail, please call the NSPCC helpline number – 0800 614 458.
Your call will be answered by a fully briefed NSPCC Helpline officer, who will be able to offer you the appropriate advice and support. Information shared, will be treated confidentially unless there is anything to suggest a child is at risk of harm.