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Interactive experience exposes dangers of financial sextortion of children

Based on dozens of real-life CyberTipline reports, an interactive film follows the story of a 15-year-old boy’s exploitation online

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By Police1 Staff

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has unveiled “No Escape Room,” a new interactive experience that plunges parents and caregivers into the reality of financial sextortion, coinciding with the release of new data on child sexual exploitation.

Based on dozens of real-life CyberTipline reports, the interactive film follows the story of a 15-year-old boy’s exploitation online. Throughout the experience, the user are prompted to engage in a conversation with someone who appears to be another teenager. Before they know it, what started out as a friendly, flirtatious chat has them trapped in a blackmail scenario. At key points, “No Escape Room” challenges parents to try to navigate the situation for themselves, as they find out it’s more difficult than it seems.

“Despite the increasing occurrence of sextortion, few parents actually know what it looks like when a child is exploited online,” said Gavin Portnoy, Vice President of Communications & Brand at NCMEC. “We created ‘No Escape Room’ to allow parents to see how quickly and easily their own child could fall victim to online exploitation, even if they are just down the hall in your own home.”

The National Center recently conducted a Harris poll to test what parents are most concerned about when it comes to protecting their children. Of the 5,000 people surveyed, 88% stated child abductions as their biggest concern, while online safety barely registered. However, online enticement and exploitation are growing at an exponential rate. In 2023 alone, NCMEC’s CyberTipline received 36.2 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. Between 2021 and 2023, online enticement reports increased more than 300%.

As users navigate “No Escape Room” they’ll quickly learn that sometimes, teens don’t always have options to get out of certain situations. At the end of the experience, users will be given the opportunity to connect with NCMEC for resources on sextortion.

“We hope that parents and caregivers will take the time to really pay attention to what a child going through online enticement is experiencing and feeling,” Portnoy said. “Then, they can use that knowledge to better inform conversations with the kids in their lives.”

“No Escape Room” was funded by the grant provided to NCMEC from the Department of Justice. To create the interactive experience, NCMEC partnered with Grow, a digital agency that works to create digital “activations” and “destinations” meant to be immersive and innovative.

NCMEC also offers a service called Take It Down, which helps remove nude, partially nude or sexually explicit photos and videos of underage people by assigning a unique digital fingerprint, called a hash value, to the images or videos. Online platforms can use those hash values to detect these images or videos on their public or unencrypted services and remove this content. Learn more here.

NCMEC’s new-interactive experience, “No Escape Room,” can be viewed here. For additional resources, visit

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