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Hundreds of high school girls victims of online ‘pornography ring’

More than 2,000 graphic images of female students have been shared by teen boys on a website that can only be described as disgusting.

Over 70 schools in Australia have had sexual images of female students displayed on the site, news.com.au reports.

Young men use the group to nominate a high school or area they're looking for nudes from, or full names of girls they are "hunting," according to the Australian news organisation. 

The site also features "wanted" lists — some of which offer "bounties" — with members able to "contribute" by posting personal information about the young women including physical features, friendship circles, phone numbers and addresses. Nude photos of "wins" are either posted or traded among members. 

"I've got heaps of Miami High girls. Kik me if you wanna trade," read one comment on the site, according to news.com.au. "Anyone have any Saint Clare Year 12 wins," read another. One commenter said they got their photos from a computer they were asked to fix a few years ago.

The group has been operating since last December. It's unclear if students from other countries have also been victimized by the site.  

A statement has been released Wednesday afternoon from the Australian Federal Police, saying they are “aware of the existence of a website which encourages users to upload images of a sexual nature. A number of these images allegedly depict non-consenting and/or underage women.

"The AFP is currently liaising with its domestic and international law enforcement partners and relevant government agencies to evaluate this matter and to determine appropriate courses of action,” it says.

On a state level, Queensland police have told Australian Associated Press they are working with taskforces in other states regarding the case, while the Northern Territory Police Force has said no one has come forward with a complaint from their state. Tasmania’s Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff told parliament his department was working with authorities in the state to learn more, saying "This has taken cyber bullying to another more extreme level.” 

Police in the state of New South Wales have also said “Detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit are liaising with law enforcement colleagues in other jurisdictions and making inquiries to determine if any offences have been committed in NSW.” 

According to news.com.au however, authorities have been notified about the child pornography in the past, but because the site is hosted overseas, nothing has been done locally to date.

While the publication says many students are unaware their photos are on the site, some victims have posted there themselves, asking the members to remove their images, or their friend's.

"Their requests are mostly ignored, laughed at, or in some cases, men retaliate by calling on their "bros" to unearth and upload even more images of the victim," according to the report.

The exchange of non-consensual nude images of young women among high school boys has been in the news in Australia lately, with recent scandals taking place at elite schools Brighton Grammar, Melbourne Grammar and St. Michael’s Grammar School, all based in Melbourne. 

Sharna Bremner from End Rape On Campus told news.com.au, "There are already plenty of consensual adult nude images online that are easily accessible. But these boys and men are not interested in that, because it's not the nudity alone that they are after. 

"What they are getting off on is the very fact that these images are not consensual and that the victims have no idea they are being exploited."

Our Watch CEO Mary Barry, echoed Bremner’s concerns, saying "another day, another discovery of vile, disrespectful behaviour towards women and girls," she said. "Sharing naked photos without consent is abuse, plain and simple."

If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org. In Australia, call 1800 RESPECT. To share further information call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000. 

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