‘Cyber-grooming’: Germany toughens law on online predators

'Cyber-grooming': Germany toughens law on online predators
The government wants to crack down on online predators. Photo: DPA
German ministers on Wednesday agreed to toughen the law on so-called "cyber-grooming" of prospective victims by predators, making illegal even attempts to communicate online with a child for sexual purposes.

“Today, a person who speaks to a child via the internet to guide them towards sexual acts can already be punished harshly,” the federal government said on its website after a regular cabinet meeting.

“In future, cases will also be included where perpetrators simply believe they are influencing a child, but are in fact communicating with an adult” such as a parent or undercover investigator.

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The government added that the change in the law “aims to protect children and young people from the dangers specific to the internet,” to which they are exposed “above all when they are active in social media, chat rooms or online games”.

Sexual abusers often present themselves as children on networking apps or games, aiming to gain potential victims' trust before manipulating them into dependence and discouraging them from seeking aid, the government said.

These can be the first steps towards sexual abuse or the production of child pornography.

 


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