CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Albemarle County Police Department is hoping to inform people about a newer way to sex traffick adults and children. 

“Sextortion is a new thing. It’s been around for a few years since social media use, technology. Everybody has a computer in their pocket. This is something that is happening in our community,” says ACPD Detective Michael Schnieder. 

He explains what sextortion is.

“Sextortion is any time that it can either be for images. It can be for sex itself. If someone has images of you or has a blackmail type of information on you and is trying to solicit more photos or sex from you that’s sextortion. It is against the law in Virginia. It’s a felony offense in Virginia,” he says/

Detective Schneider says this is happening right here in our community. He says ACPD has worked several cases per year.

“It happens to adults and children. If someone is a victim of it, we need them to report it immediately. Don’t send more photos. Don’t send money to them. Just report it,” he said.

He shares victims can feel alone and ashamed to tell anyone. 

“We find it best that you need to have a conversation with your family members. If they’re threatening to send them to certain people, have a conversation with those people and ask them to delete them as soon as they get it, not open it. Or, just prepare them that this is what they’re going to see. You’re not alone in this. We’re all here to help you we’re all here to be supportive,” he says.

Some victims are afraid they might be in trouble as well.

“You won’t be in trouble just because you sent out a nude photo of yourself. There are services through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It’s called ‘Take it Down’ We can send them the photos securely and they will try to get those photos. Scour the internet and get them taken down for you,” he says.

For any concerns related to this crime contact ACPD immediately and ask for Detective Michael Schnieder.