Sextortion is a combination of two words, Sex and extortion. Extortion is usually getting money or other benefits through threats. Sextortion then, is either getting sex through threats and violence, or even, using sex as the threat, to get more things.

Neither is great, no matter who it happens to. But in particular, Sextortion: A Hidden Pandemic, is going to talk about this practice happening through the internet. Why is it happening? How is it so popular? And why it is specifically targeting the youth of America.

It is a very hard documentary and subject to talk about, but generally one of those that can help save lives. After all, if people know what to be on the look out for, and know what is going on, then you know, the bad guys might get caught? Or at the very least, your loved ones can be better protected.

Unfortunately, the people who generally need this sort of message. Like, preteens and teenagers, usually aren’t getting it from any sources. From parents, nor from schools (mostly thanks to parents), so they remain vulnerable and exploitable, even if their parents know all the knowledge to stop it. A documentary that can cross both bridges would be wonderful, and hopefully, informative.

sexy court
Don’t worry, it is also full or artistic drawings, you know, if you like art.

So what specifically is this documentary about? Honestly, most of it is about one specific case set in Virginia. Of a guy, who happened to have some big connections, being caught pretending to be a teenager on social media. He would flirt with girls, convince them to take a naked picture or something, because his camera is broken, or he will go next. Then the threatening would begin. Now he would release the picture everywhere, unless he gave them more.

I guess one thing you learn about child pornography rings, is to get accepted into them, you can’t just upload old CP to their servers. They already know about that stuff. They need you to produce fresh new content. And one way to do that is through, you know, this method above. Because once you have trapped a teenager, they will be potentially be too scared to do anything else but comply. They wont want to tell their friends or parents, because of shame, and their goal is to reduce the amount of people know immediately. And that really sucks. And the guy they caught and put on trial and you know, convicted, did that a lot.

What is surprising to me is how much of the movie is about the trial, or similar ones, and how little is about the actual process and ways to prevent it. I mean, it is there. Sure. But it feels like it was there just because it had to be. And the focus was on the trial. This trial I cared so little about. I care that the guy was arrested and put away, but I don’t need to know every aspect of the trial or research into catching him. This documentary wanted to get into that True Crime aspect a lot more, maybe to cast a wider net.

And in terms of usefulness, there was probably a little bit of useful information here? But the documentary isn’t set up in a way that it will be appealing to preteens and young teenagers, who need to hear it the most. Parents might watch this, and might try to do something about it, but the message will likely still get muddied.

On a final note, I think it is disingenuous to throw pandemic in the title here. Ridiculous even. I don’t want anything turning Pandemic into some buzzword to get attention. From the title, I don’t know if it is implying this is more important than the non-hidden pandemic, or just trying to ride its coattails, but it does NOT need to. It is already about a serious topic. It can stand on its own feet.

2 out of 4.