Dating platforms Tinder and Grindr will be asked to explain to UK lawmakers how they protect children after an investigation conducted by the Sunday Times this weekend revealed that minors are being put at risk of sexual exploitation by the apps.
In a story that featured on the front page of the paper yesterday, the Times told readers that it had discovered that British investigators have probed over 30 cases of child rape since 2015 in which victims were attacked after they bypassed age checks on the dating platforms.
Police documents seen by the paper after it submitted a freedom of information request reveal that insufficient age restrictions put in place by dating platforms used by millions of people worldwide are offering paedophiles easy access to children in the UK, who are able to set up profiles on the apps with few age checks.
In one incident, a 13-year-old boy is said to have been either raped or sexually abused by at least 21 men after his abusers got in touch with him through Grindr.
Other cases uncovered by the paper involved children as young as eight being exposed to grooming, kidnapping and violent sexual assault through dating apps.
Responding to the paper’s findings, UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said he found its revelations “truly shocking”, and promised that he would write to the companies behind these dating platforms to demand information on what they are doing to make sure children are safe.
In a statement, Grindr said: “Any account of sexual abuse or other illegal behaviour is troubling to us as well as a clear violation of our terms of service.