Indecent photos of young Cayman Islands women, including some girls under 18, have been posted to a social media site, prompting a police investigation.
The pictures, accompanied by demeaning comments, were circulated via an Instagram profile.
Police began receiving complaints about the images late last week. The images have now been removed from the site, and an investigation has been launched.
It is understood that these photos were taken with the consent of or even by the girls themselves, but were never intended to be shared publicly.
Detective Inspector Kevin Ashworth, co-supervisor of the Multi-Agency Child Safeguarding Hub, which leads child protection investigations, said it appears that someone exploited the trust of the girls to publicly release the images.
He warned teenagers against sending explicit images of themselves, even if they were in a relationship.
“Think before you click,” he said. “Is this an image you would want to be seen by your grandmother and potentially by anyone around the world, because that is, unfortunately, a possibility.”
In this case, he said, the publication of the images was being investigated as potential misuse of an ICT (information and communication technology) network to cause alarm or distress, as well as possession and circulation of indecent images.
He also warned young people about sharing images of themselves.
“We do not want to criminalize young people, but educate them about the potential long-term consequences of taking and sharing these kinds of photos,” he said. “Images that are shared via any social media platform can resurface later and cause embarrassment or worse.
“We also want them to understand that even just sharing personal photos of this nature with one other person through their phones can be an offense, in addition to publicizing or distributing them.”
Anyone with information about these posts is encouraged to call the Multi-Agency Child Safeguarding Hub or Family Support Unit at 814-6000.