MONTEVIDEO – Reported cases of child pornography in Uruguay increased from about 400 in 2014 to 500 so far this year, leading to 19 prosecutions last year and 22 in 2015, the Interior Ministry said.
The low prosecutions-to-reports rate results from the fact that social networks, where most of these crimes happen, “are foreign,” said Winston Rodriguez, chief of the digital crimes division at the Bureau against Organized Crime and Interpol in Uruguay.
As a result, “the investigations (to prove the crimes) are long” and difficult, the law enforcement official said.
Rodriguez emphasized the importance of prevention “at home” with families monitoring “minors’ use of technology.”
To prevent minors from falling victim to predators, families “should pay attention when a child locks himself in his bedroom with a tablet or a computer,” Rodriguez said, adding that sex offenders created Web profiles “getting the attention and winning the minor’s trust.”
Different types of criminal activities emerge from interactions on social networks, like “grooming,” which is when minors are seduced “to enter into prostitution” and foreign-based predators send them money to travel overseas, the law enforcement official said.
Another tactic that worries authorities is “sextortion,” which happens when a user “exchanges pictures with another, and from there extortion and threats follow” to keep the exchanges going, Rodriguez said.