Definition of Sextortion

Written by Winki Chan

The word of “Sextortion" was originated during the 1950s in the US.

“Denoting an attempt to coerce a witness into changing their testimony by using their sexual history against them): blend of sex and extortion."– Cited from

With the ubiquitous use of technology, sextortion has became one of the major cyber crime issue appeared around the world. Nowadays, sextortion cases are often related to online or webcam blackmail and naked chat.

‘A type of extortion or blackmail in which the blackmailer threatens to release the nude images of the victim unless he or she agrees to a sexdeal.’ – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US

The issue is not about whether the nude images were taken in voluntary or from hacking into the victim’s webcam but about the harmful costs of the crime. In the UK, United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (2016) reported 864 cases happened in 2016. While in the US, FBI (2016) reported the average financial losses were about US$5,000 to US$10,000 per victims during 2015-2016. Besides financial costs, there were even reported suicide cases of the victims linked to these online blackmail. See Reported cases of webcam blackmail double, are linked to four suicides.


Murphy, K. (2016). In Online Dating, ‘Sextortion’ and Scams. The New York Times. Dated 15 January 2016. Retrieve from

United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency. (2016).  Sextortion (webcam blackmail). Retrieved from




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