The two men arrested in Nigeria after a joint action by Nigerian, South African and NSW and Australia’s federal police. Photograph: AFP/NSW police

Two nabbed in Nigeria over alleged sextortion of Australian teenager

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Two men in Nigeria have been arrested over an alleged sextortion case which led to a teenage Australian boy committing suicide.

The two men arrested in Nigeria after a joint action by Nigerian, South African and NSW and Australia’s federal police. Photograph: AFP/NSW police

The boy had been engaging online with an unknown person who threatened to share personal photos of him with his family and friends if he did not pay $500, police said in a statement on Monday.

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The boy was believed to have taken his own life in 2023 as a result of the threats.

Police investigated the matter before it was referred to the New South Wales (NSW) Government in Australia crime command’s cybercrime squad, which traced the alleged perpetrators to Nigeria before requesting help from the Australian Federal Police.

As a result of the AFP-led investigation, working alongside South African and Nigerian authorities, two Nigerian men were arrested and charged with sextortion offences in March.

The men were found in a slum in Nigeria, NSW police said. The men will be dealt with locally, where authorities can prosecute for Australia-based offences.

The commander of NSW’s state crime command’s cybercrime squad, Det Supt Matthew Craft, said young people did not need to suffer in silence.

“We’ve seen a huge spike in sextortion cases, which are up nearly 400% in the last 18 months,” he said.

“But the good news is people are reporting it and there are steps we can take to help you before it goes too far.

“We want young people to continue to report these cases and to never be embarrassed to talk to police.”

The AFP’s commander, Helen Schneider, said the arrests showed what could be achieved when law enforcement worked together to fight a global problem.

“The sextortion of children is a borderless crime, as these arrests show,” Schneider said.

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