The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has arrested some members of a cult group in the FCT perpetrating gruesome acts of sextortion.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Vincent Adekoye, Press Officer, NAPTIP.
Adekoye said that the arrests followed intense surveillance and undercover operation ordered by the Director General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, in response to several complaints.
He added that the arrest was a ground breakthrough record for the agency in its efforts to address issues of sextortion and nip it in the bud in Nigeria.
Adekoye explained that the group was known for perpetrating gruesome acts of sextortion and terrorising young girls and other residents of the FCT and its environs.
He recalled that the agency had recently been inundated by series of complaints from victims of sextortion who had been blackmailed with plea for assistance.
According to Adekoye, sextortion is a crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute nudes and private videos of another person, and when that person refuses to grant them sexual favours or pay them money.
He, however, said that it was sexual exploitation where the perpetrator used coercion and threats to compel the victim to produce sexual images or videos engaging in sexual acts.
He revealed that the crime was punishable under the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 (as re-enacted).
He added that NAPTIP D-G, Waziri-Azi while speaking on the development, expressed grave concerns about the incremental cases of sextortion.
Waziri-Azi said that the crime was perpetrated by mostly young men against young girls within the FCT and called for increased vigilance among parents and stakeholders.
She explained that after the criminals had one or more videos or pictures, they threatened to publish that content, or they threatened violence, to get the victim to produce more images.
“The shame, fear, and confusion victims feel when caught in this cycle often prevent them from asking for help or reporting the abuse.
She advised young girls to be wary of this trend and protect themselves by reporting all cases of sextortion to NAPTIP, stressing that they should not be afraid to speak up.
“Do not be gaslighted into thinking it was your fault. It is a crime and a crime against you.
“Report all perpetrators. If you do not report, you are emboldening these criminals, and what happened to you will definitely happen to someone else.
“Parents, please support your children if they report cases of sextortion to you. Do not revile them. A lapse in judgment should not lead to condemnation.
“If you or someone you know is a sextortion victim, you can help stop the harassment by reporting it to NAPTIP. Save all conversations, chats, or messages between yourself and the perpetrator.
“Do not pay or share more of your sexual images with them. Your webcam or recording devices can be activated remotely.
“Never have your phone or other electronic camera devices pointed at you while undressing or in a position, you would not want to share with the world. Be smart and stay safe,” the D-G advised.