Paedophiles blackmail hundreds of British children into online sex acts, a charity has warned.
According to a report published by Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre on Friday, children as young as eight have been targeted and are being driven to suicide or self-harm by abusers, who threaten to send pictures to their families and friends.
Figures from police forces in the UK and abroad showed 424 children, including 184 in Britain, have been a victim of online sexual blackmail in some form over the past two years.
“Children are being targeted, blackmailed, extorted, forced, coerced, to perform slave-like acts through the internet, on webcam,” said Ceop deputy chief executive Andy Baker.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the number of calls made to a children’s charity helpline in Britain reporting sex abuse has almost doubled since last year following the scandal surrounding former TV host Jimmy Savile.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said it received 594 calls to its 24-hour advice line during June and July this year about sexual abuse, compared to 323 over the same period in 2012.