More minors being ‘groomed’ into making sexual videos amid toughened punishment: South Korea

Seoul:  Sexual exploitation content in which minors are groomed or coerced into filming themselves has risen over the past few years, while the punishment for the crime has been toughened, with average prison terms nearly doubling in five years in South Korea, data showed on Thursday.

The proportion of minor victims forced to film sexual videos or take images of themselves increased from 19.1 per cent of all illegally produced sex videos involving minors to a whopping 52.9 per cent in 2022, according to the gender ministry’s analysis of court records of 2,913 sexual offenders, Yonhap news agency reported.

The ministry announced the analysis of those whose identities were disclosed for being convicted of crimes targeting children and adolescents in 2022.

During the same period, sexual exploitation content filmed or created by offenders declined from 72.7 per cent to 44.6 per cent.

Deepfakes, or manipulated content that swaps the victims’ faces with existing sexual videos, also increased to 14 cases in 2022, compared with just one case reported in 2019.

Meanwhile, sexual offenders who were given prison terms increased from 33.8 per cent in 2017 to 38.3 per cent in 2022, whereas those who were fined declined from 14.4 per cent to 6.3 per cent during the same period.

In particular, the average prison term for those charged with making sexual exploitation content increased nearly twofold from two years in 2017 to four years in 2022.

By type of sexual exploitation crimes, sexual harassment accounted for 31.9 per cent, followed by rape at 24 per cent and child sexual abuse content at 16.8 per cent, according to the same data.

Most of the victims, or 91.5 per cent, were female, while the average age of victims dropped from 14.6 years old in 2017 to 13.9 years old in 2022.

Nearly 60 per cent of the victims said the sexual offenders were someone they knew, with 33.7 per cent of the victims saying they had met through internet chats, particularly chatting apps.


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