Arab women in blackmail crisis over net pics

Photographs are a common blackmail tool as they are more easily obtained through social media, officials warned. (SUPPLIED)

An increasing number of Arab women are being blackmailed into paying money or having sexual relations with men who threaten to expose pictures of them taken from social networking websites.

According to a report by The National, officials from the Ministry of Interior and social groups are calling for urgent legal reforms to protect such victims.

Photographs are a common blackmail tool as they are more easily obtained through social media, officials warned.

While some blackmailers target women for money, others "thrive on emotional and psychological control", Dr Azhar Abuali, the care and rehabilitation director at the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, was quoted as saying in The National.

In interviews, several young Arab women said they had not reported sexual blackmail for fear of being "forced into an early marriage or not getting married altogether", being "harmed" by the blackmailer or their parents or "being grounded for life".

NA, 19, from Al Ain, has been blackmailed into unsafe sex for the past several months by a former boyfriend, who threatened to spread revealing images of her.

"I hate my life, there is no way to end this," she said. "We were together very briefly, and somehow he got pictures of me in a swimsuit.

I never want my family to find out,” she said

Dr Abuali said girls should not be blamed in such cases.

 

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