The Online Enticement of Children:An In-Depth Analysis of CyberTipline Reports

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The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children operates the CyberTipline, the nation’s centralized reporting system for suspected child sexual exploitation. In 2017 alone, we received more than 10.2 million reports, a number that has been growing exponentially each year. The CyberTipline uniquely positions NCMEC to spot patterns andtrends in child sexual exploitation, including the “online enticement” of children.Online enticement covers a broad spectrum of victimization and occurs on all platforms. Someone enticing a child online can have a variety of motives and tactics. Often online enticement involves enticing a child to share sexually explicit images, meeting in person for sexual purposes, engaging the child in a sexual conversation or role-playing or, in some instances, to sell or trade the child’s sexual images to others. This analysis only included enticement that occurred strictly online, and there was no indication that a meeting took place. It did not include any blackmail, known as “sextortion,” which is another form of online enticement. Our in-depth analysis of sextortion is available at A future analysis will look in-depth at those reports involving meeting in person.To better understand this type of victimization, we analyzed 5,863 CyberTipline reports from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Patterns and trends were analyzed based on the information provided by Internet companies, other agencies and the public about the interactions/exchange of information by/between individuals regarding the online enticement of children. In all of these incidents, reports were made to the CyberTipline, jurisdictions were identified and the reports were forwarded to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies.