Creating fake online profiles for sex is fraud. Make Catfishing a crime!
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Last year I was in love with a man I had met online. After 14 months, I discovered that the man I was in a relationship with 'Antony Ray' was using a fake identity.
He had created a fake profile. Turns out he was married and even had a dedicated phone for ‘conquests’ from his fake life.
He took advantage of my trust and took away my right to choose. Had I known, I would never have consented to a sexual relationship with a married man, let alone a man who was actively having relations with multiple women simultaneously.
The behaviour he used to hook us is 'Adult Grooming', his actions were completely premeditated, yet the current law will not find his actions a criminal offence as protection against 'grooming' stops as you turn 16. That’s why I’m calling for creating fake profiles for the intent to use people for sex to be a crime.
It should be a crime under the Fraud Act, Communications Act and Sex Offences Act and used to be until 2003 when it was removed when laws were replaced. 'Sex by deception' used to be a criminal offence.
Whilst my story sounds shocking, many have also been 'catfished' - as it is commonly referred to (a fake online persona used for creating romance online). Individuals establish a relationship and build trust in their story, they can then chose to make the 'catfish' personal by meeting their victim to pursue a relationship under the premise of their alias.
If this man had 'asked' me for money, he would have committed a criminal offence under the fraud act. But I gave him presents and bought many things that come with being in a long term relationship.
If this man had used his fake profile to cause distress by 'trolling' me or posting an intimate picture he would have committed a criminal offence under the communications act. But he caused me distress by misrepresenting who he was.
If this man had claimed to be a doctor and deceived me through misrepresentation into having a sexual relationship with him he would have committed a criminal offence. He deceived me by creating a fake identity and his premeditated intent.
Please help me to protect other people from going through what I did by signing this petition to broaden current legislation to include these contemptible acts.
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