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Korean police have identified dozens of victims, including minors, linked to pay-to-view chat rooms operated on chat app Telegram, which distributed videos of middle school girls performing grotesque sexual acts and self harm. According to one newspaper report, one user even new sexting room himself raping a girl after luring her to a motel room.
The story first came to light through a report in Korean newspaper Hankyoreh link in Korean last November. An ensuing Kookmin Ilbo report link in Korean in early March further detailing the horrific acts stoked a nationwide outcry. It comes just months after the uncovering of the Burning Sun scandalwhich implicated K-pop stars in a prostitution ring in Seoul, and as anger continues to simmer over other forms of sexual abuse against women including widespread spy-cam crimes.
Reporters at Kookmin Ilbo observed about 25, users across 30 such chat rooms. Customers paid up to 1. The Korea Cyber Sexual Violence Response Center also said that it has counted at leastusers in 56 chat rooms where users shared extorted content, as well as spy-cam images or photos of female acquaintances. Some of the content was created by the users themselves, and included deep fake pornography. According to the Kookmin Ilbo report, each of the eight nth rooms hosted videos that had been extorted from three to four different girls blackmailed by chat room operators.
The girls were often runaway teenagers who were active on chat apps or Twitter and engaged in prostitution or sexting for money. The chat room operators contacted the girls through those s, and then promised them quick and high-paying modelling or escort gigs. They were then directed to a Telegram where the abuser slowly extracted their names, phone s, addresses, friend lists, and photos of their bodies, which were later used to blackmail them into filming and sending sexual acts that often bordered on torture.
One of the underage victims said she was extorted for over 40 sexual abuse videos while she was a middle school student in I felt like I was being stalked. The public response has been massive. Over 2. Police have identified the suspect as a year-old recent graduate who was the editor-in-chief of his college newspaper. Over 1. Yesterday, president Moon Jae-in ordered a thorough investigation into all chat room members. Encrypted chat rooms with foreign servers like Telegram are used in Korea as alternatives to porn sites or online file-sharing drives for distributing such content, as many such sites have been shut down in recent years following massive rallies against spy-cam porn and stronger government scrutiny.
They could also be easily deleted and re-formed on a regular basis to throw new sexting room authorities. Experts fear the perpetrators will simply move onto a different platform and continue their activities there.
Digital sexual crimes often end with a warning or light sentences in South Korea. According to government data, 3, people were arrested between and for creating and distributing child-related porn. Only were indicted and 80 received jail sentences.
In November last year, a year-old man received a one year jail term for for selling sexual abuse videos involving children and teenagers through Telegram. The justice ministry also apologized to victims, and vowed to raise the maximum jail sentence for digital sex crimes and possibly treat the Telegram chat room members as an organized crime ring in its indictment.
Correction: An earlier version of this article inaccurately stated that prosecutors had sentenced, rather than recommended a sentence, for a ringleader of the chat rooms. These are some of our most ambitious editorial projects. By Suhyoon Lee. South Korea is reeling from yet another serious sexual abuse scandal. me up. Update your browser for the best experience.New sexting room
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