“Butt out, Creeps”: ALERT issues sextortion warning

Edmonton… While the number of sextortion cases remains high for ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation team, the province-wide unit is launching a multi-media awareness campaign that says “butt out, creeps”.

“Butt out, creeps” is campaign to raise awareness and help youth get smart about sextortion. ALERT worked with DDB Canada to research and develop the campaign, which officially launched on social media channels earlier this month and has already generated over one million impressions.

The ads, featuring dancing eggplant and peach emoji characters, are running on Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, online gaming platforms and can also be found on the web at buttoutcreeps.ca. The singing eggplant tells kids, “don’t be a wang, don’t be a boob, sending nude pics to strangers makes you look like a newb”. Meanwhile the peach character sings, “if someone you know asks you for a nude, tell someone you trust, then ghost that weird dude”.

“Sextortion cases are completely debilitating for youth and have become all too frequent – and it is happening inside our homes. We are hoping this campaign allows us to connect with youth online, and provide education and supporting resources in a manner that is accessible and noteworthy,” said Supt. Marc Cochlin, ALERT CEO.

The ads are aimed towards connecting with youth between 10 and 17 years of age, who ICE has found to be the primary target of sextortion cases.

Sextortion is where children, specifically boys, are being coerced into sending explicit images online and are then extorted for money, e-transfers, or gift cards. Predators often pose as girls of a similar age and use fake accounts to target youth. Investigating sextortion is challenging as the suspects are believed to be operating overseas, much the same manner as more traditional phone scammers.

The campaign’s primary message is to dissuade youth from sharing nudes online, but to “get smart about sextortion” by following a link to our website with resources and tips.

Last year, ICE received nearly 3,000 case referrals. Record numbers for Alberta as online child sexual exploitation offences have increased by more than 185% in the past five years.

While the ads are designed to connect more with youth, parents also play an important role in prevention. Studies show that 1 in 3 victims of sextortion never told anyone, largely due to embarrassment or shame. Resources for parents are also posted online at buttoutcreeps.ca.

About DDB Canada
DDB Canada is part of DDB Worldwide, one of the world’s largest and most influential advertising and marketing networks. Known for advertising that generates significant results for clients, DDB Canada’s fundamental belief is that creativity is the most powerful force in business. Founded in 1949, DDB is part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC).

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Integrated ICE teams investigate offences related to the exploitation of children over the Internet.