Thousands of UK kids are being forced by cyber-blackmailers to perform sex acts online via their webcams, according to a research by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.
The CEOP centre found that several kids were self harming or killing themselves as a result of cyber blackmailing.
About 12 operations have been investigated in the past two years, which showed kids being blackmailed into performing sexual acts via webcam, according to the child protection organisation.
It's aslo been found that about 424 kids were the victim of online abuse in some form including 184 from the UK.
Research also revealed that about seven of those victims had seriously harmed themselves or attempted to kill themselves, including six from the UK, while seven of them ended their lives, together with one from the UK.
Kids were also forced to perform other acts live on webcam such as writing degrading statements on their body and cutting themselves.
CEOP centre deputy CEO Andy Baker said: "However, our research shows that the power offenders use on their victims means children who are forced into performing acts on webcam or sending pictures can feel trapped, and some tragically go on to self-harm or in the worst cases take their own lives.
"The stories we hear are truly tragic and you cannot help but be touched by the emotional rollercoaster these youngsters must be going through. But there is help for children and their friends, as well as worried parents."
Offenders, who initially pretend to be a child, force kids to perform such acts by threatening them to share their nude photos with friends and family if they don't do as asked.
Children are initially targeted on open chat sites and social networks and then moved to more private areas where chats become sexualised.
"The centre is also working closely with law enforcement around the globe to catch child sex abusers," Baker said.
"We are using the latest technology and intelligence to ensure that no matter where in the world they are or no matter which parts of the web they are using, we will find them and we will catch them."
The UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has also set up a 24-hour helpline for kids or adults concerned about such blackmail (0800-328 0904).
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