In this post we will be revisiting the very disturbing cases of the nth room chats, almost two years on and what has happened in that time.
The nth rooms are various telegram chat rooms in which people can view all kinds of heinous and violent acts being performed on young women and children. Some of which includes cutting off a nipple, carving the word “slave” into victims skin or the name of their sex trafficker. Other degrading acts include putting scissors into the vagina, eating feces, and even being raped by specific people all on camera. At least one of the victims that we know of has already committed suicide on camera for the entertainment of these sadistic telegram groups. The victims were also made to perform other dehumanising acts on camera and viewers in the chat pay to see this content. Rooms are priced differently according to how extreme or disturbing the acts are.
Most of the time these acts are filmed by the victim themselves as they’re a digital sex slave. This may sound like an odd term but in today’s interconnected world this is fast becoming a common thing. Being a digital sex slave means a victim hasn’t been kidnapped or taken by anyone, this being the main factor in the current underground sex trade.
The job ads traffickers share online are always too good to be true, a position offering high pay for little to no work. This half baked scheme lures in those that are desperate for some quick cash and those too naive to question the position any further. Once they are in contact with the trafficker they are usually asked to send over their personal information which is standard once you have been formally offered a job and received your contract. However these girls and women were asked for their personal information on the spot via Twitter DMs and other messaging apps. The main point of the traffickers is to attract those that are the most desperate.
Its only after their personal details have been taken that they are blackmailed and become digital sex slaves. It seems pretty straightforward, how can they just resign themselves to being a sex slave after their personal details were stolen? Well to understand why this has been so lucrative for traffickers you’d have to be aware of the very traditionalist nature of South Korea. It may seem very modern with their innovation and k pop however the society is very sexist and highly unbalanced between the two genders.
With that being said, it is known that reporting crimes of a sexual nature to the Korean police result in ridicule, victim blaming or no action at all. Many foreigners visiting the country have quickly realised this fact.
Women and young girls were quickly rounded up via the internet and made to perform for chat rooms filled with thousands of men. Most of the recorded content was created via blackmail.
These chat rooms, classed by levels of severity in torture were on Telegram due to their encryption and privacy features. Some members of the several chat rooms were also paying to get into some of these rooms, all payments were done via cryptocurrency to secure full anonymity. Korea soon realised they had a serious problem when local activists exposed that around 260,000 men were on these Telegram chat rooms.
I covered this topic in my first ever podcast episode a year ago. Upon researching and reading about the issue at the time I was shocked but sadly not surprised. There are nth rooms all over the internet. People have used this virtual world to continue to exploit those that are more vulnerable than them. The digital traffickers don’t have to physically look for victims, they do their hunting on sites like twitter, Instagram and other apps local to specific regions.
The nth rooms only became public knowledge due to the online outcry from young women and girls who were afraid of reporting anything to the local authorities. South Korea is also known to have quite a lax attitude surrounding sexual abuse which stems from deep cultural systems. Spy cameras in women’s bathrooms and changing rooms are an extremely common thing in South Korea and women regularly warn each other and document their experiences.
As I mentioned in my episode last year there was also a leak that revealed some politicians and celebrities were amongst those 260,000 nth room chat members. The public have demanded that the local authorities reveal the names of those people however this hasn’t happened yet and there have been accusations of corruption and cover ups aimed at the police. The public were not buying that 80% of paying nth room users were underage. Something smells fishy here…
As of today no other individuals have been implicated in the case but many suspect there are government officials who were either paying for this illegal content or involved in abusing the victims themselves.
Following the widespread outrage millions have signed an online petition on a website ran by the presidential office demanding that police reveal the identities of other suspects. The number of signatures are highest number for a petition on the presidential website.
There is also another petition that millions have signed ordering the government to disclose the identities of the 260,000 anonymous users in the chatroom on Telegram.
The case seems to be closed and many unanswered questions swept under the rug. What do you think?