Sexual Exploitation of Children online is another avenue of abuse that is a heavyweight newcomer to the field of child sexual abuse and exploitation. Online abuse can be defined as any type of abuse that occurs via the internet. According to the Central Bank, Sri Lanka’s internet usage has increased to 68.4%. Child sexual exploitation online takes place with the use of devices such as computers, mobile phones or any such devices with internet connectivity and recordable video or photo. The types of offences of sexual exploitation online include sending or uploading child exploitative and abusive material and manipulating children to do their sexual bidding through the internet. Children may also experience online grooming, cyber-bullying, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and emotional abuse via the internet.
Abusers exploit children by winning their trust and manipulating them to engage in sexual activities over webcams or send sexual pictures or video of themselves to the abusers. This method known as grooming is a popular method used among paedophiles. The child victims will feel trapped and blackmailed by abusers who have stored images and videos of the children. There is no physical barrier to this torture; an abuser can reach them anywhere at any time. Not only adults, but also children can use social media to inflict to sexual abuse on other children resulting in cyber-bullying. A case was reported in 2015 in Sri Lanka where a man allegedly manipulated and blackmailed 70 school girls and collected sexual explicit pictures of them. The person has blackmailed these school girls into sending pictures of their friends which has resulted in a chain of scared/vulnerable girls getting blackmailed by this individual who started publishing and circulating these pictures among the public. Although children out of fear do not report such incidents, it is necessary to even reveal such information to a friend so that necessary precautions can be taken against such people. This is a type of child abuse that is heavily under reported as the victims are shamed and ridiculed by the public, thus resulting in them running for cover and being submissive to the perpetrators agenda.