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OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights the National Missing Children’s Day commemoration, the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the annual symposium for AMBER Alert coordinators, and a Tribal community of practice.
Message From the Administrator: When a Child Goes Missing
Action Plan - Administrator Liz Ryan

Youth Can Remove Explicit Online Images With the “Take It Down” Tool

The new Take It Down tool helps combat child sexual exploitation by enabling youth to remove sexually explicit images of themselves from the Internet. Developed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an OJJDP grantee, Take It Down works by generating a unique digital fingerprint—a “hash value”—that identifies copies of sexually explicit images or videos.

The launch of this tool comes as law enforcement agencies are reporting a dramatic rise in a crime known as sextortion—when children and teens are coerced into sending explicit images online and then extorted for money or additional explicit material. Perpetrators often release the images even after youth send additional images or money—typically, hundreds of dollars or more.

Sextortion can occur after a child has shared an image with someone they trusted, but many children are targeted by strangers posing online as peers, often using fake accounts and communicating via popular social media sites, gaming sites, or video chat applications. The shame, fear, and confusion child victims feel may prevent them from asking for help or reporting the abuse. More than a dozen sextortion victims died by suicide in 2022.

OJJDP Roundtable Forum Addresses Child Exploitation

Multiple federal agencies are involved in preventing child sexual exploitation. To help them deliver effective, uniform messaging, OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Criminal Justice Training Center to launch a roundtable forum for prevention specialists. Nearly 40 professionals and researchers from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academia attended the first meeting on March 1.

“It is time that we—law enforcement, prosecutors, lawmakers, electronic service providers, and parents—say enough is enough,” said Sean Pierce, Commander of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and a roundtable participant. “If we do not protect our children, who will?”

“Having any form of explicit content online can be terrifying and traumatizing, especially for children.”

—Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Take It Down is a free service. Youth select the content they want “hashed,” and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shares the unique identifier with participating online platforms, which then scan their public or unencrypted sites and apps and remove the images. Users can remain anonymous and the image or video they identify remains on their device; they do not need to upload it. Participating platforms include Facebook, Instagram, and multiple pornographic websites. Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) provided initial funding for Take It Down’s development.

“We created this system because many children are facing these desperate situations,” said Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “Our hope is that children and parents become aware of this service, feel a sense of control over their imagery, and know [we are] here to help.”


To report threats about online images or other forms of child sexual exploitation, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline online or call 800–THE–LOST. The center’s NetSmartz program website features a series of videos for youth on avoiding sextortion.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) program has released a new resource guide for youth who are victims of sextortion. In February, the program hosted a webinar on sextortion awareness and prevention. To mark Internet Safety Month, which falls every June, the ICAC program released a video to promote Internet safety and highlight the dangers of sextortion. 

Date Created: June 13, 2023