Is Persistence the key to offline contact: Identification of the online sex solicitors’ strategies

Presented by Vicky Desjardins as a part of the 2020 Serene-risc Workshop on The State of Canadian Cybersecurity Conference: Human-Centric Cybersecurity.

About the presentation

Research suggests two types of online sexual solicitors of minors, either those driven by sexual fantasies or by offline contact. Many of the studies on online sex solicitors were conducted using a sample from Perverted Justice. This organization features chatlogs with decoy victims. While methodologically innovative, decoys, and real victims’ interactions may differ. Consequentially the strategies employed to overcome a victim’s non-compliance can fluctuate. This research analyzed 52 online relationships from Quebec’s provincial police to understand the differences and narrow down the strategies associated with offline contact in offenders’ discourses. We compared successful and unsuccessful offenders’ relationships in their quest for offline contact by comparing victims’ online behaviours and offenders’ usage of strategies. Results demonstrate that offenders’ behaviours better determine the outcomes of the relationships compared to victims. Successful offenders had more opportunities and showed higher frequencies of used strategies. Shorter relationships were significantly associated with offline contact. Victims’ willingness to engage in sexual activities with offenders is not significantly associated with offline contact. With the results, we can be able to identify, within chatlogs, which offenders are more likely to progress to contact. The implication for police intervention and research will be discussed.

About the speaker

Vicky Desjardins is a Criminology Ph.D. student at the University of Montreal since fall 2020. Graduated from Concordia University in English literature in 2015, then moved on to criminology studies at the University of Montreal, Ms. Desjardins used both backgrounds to study modus operandi of online sex solicitors for her master’s thesis. Her research interests include criminal adaptation alongside technological advancement in financial crimes. Ms. Desjardins has experience working on research projects on collusion, hacking, and online sexual offenders.