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Digital sex crimes against children increased nearly 20 pct in 2019

National 09:00 April 18, 2021

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- Digital sex crimes against underage people rose nearly 20 percent in 2019 from a year earlier, a government report showed Sunday.

The number of criminals convicted of digital sex crimes reached 266 in 2019, up 19.3 percent from 223 previous year, according to the report published by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Digital sex crimes refer to the sending of online sexual online messages to children, filming and producing sexual videos and photos of minors, or threatening to disclose of the illegal footage.

The number of victims more than doubled to 505 from 251 over the cited period.

The gender ministry said the number of digital sex offenders is far larger than that of victims, as each criminal commits crimes against multiple children or juveniles.

Among the crimes, 299 cases involved illegal video recording using spy cameras, while 93 were related to production of sexually abusive videos of children.

On the other hand, the report said the total number of criminals convicted of sex crimes, including sexual harassment, rape and sex trafficking, decreased 14.5 percent on-year to 2,753 in 2019 from 3,219 in 2018.

Nearly all them were male, while some 30 percent of the convicted criminals were in their 20s.

Those who are aged 18 years old or younger accounted for 15.6 percent in 2019, up from 11.8 percent five years earlier.

The number of victims decreased 6.1 percent on-year to 3,622 from 3,859 over the same period.

The average age of the victims, of which 93 percent were female, was 14.2 years old.

Among them, 26.1 percent were children aged under 13 years old.

A total of 813 sexual assaults were committed against victims younger than 13 in 2019, accounting for 30.8 percent of the total sex crimes that year, up from 23.6 percent tallied in 2016, according to the ministry report.

This image provided by Yonhap News TV depicts online grooming. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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