Transparency report: “Sextortion” in sport | International Transparency

The global phenomenon of “sextortion” in sport

Vienna (OTS) 05/23/2022: The sports sector is particularly vulnerable to “sextortion”, according to a new report published today by International Transparency has been published.


“Sextortion” is a form of sexual exploitation and corruption that occurs when people in positions of power attempt to extort sexual favors in exchange for something in their power. The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) has defined this form of abuse of authority as follows: “Sextortion is a variant of corruption in which various forms of sexual exploitation are the currency of corruption.[1] The principle of quid pro quo at the heart of sextortion is precisely the type of exchange found in other forms of corruption.[2] Authority figures demand sexual benefits in exchange for things like signing a contract with a club, getting a spot on a team, playing major tournaments, or getting a better scholarship . This particular form of corruption must not be suppressed.


Using case studies from Germany, Mexico and Romania, among others, the spread of sexual abuse is presented as a problem that affects all sports in all regions of the world. In Germany, for example, a survey of top athletes revealed that one in three athletes has been the victim of various forms of sexual exploitation at least once during their career.[3] There have also been cases in Austria in the past that have come to light.[4]

The report finds that cultures of loyalty to teams, coaches and organizations encourage sextortion in sport. The “status quo” is protected with leadership positions almost exclusively held by men. This allows women, children, young people and people with disabilities in particular to be exploited and reinforces a widespread culture of silence.

Close relationships between coaches and athletes blur boundaries, hide abuse and make it difficult to report. When athletes speak out, they are often treated with suspicion or contempt and may face retaliation.

The report reveals weaknesses in the systems of sports organisations. Many have failed to develop adequate abuse prevention and reporting mechanisms. Organizations are often unable to investigate abuse due to a lack of capacity and expertise.

To stop this system of abuse of power, sports organizations and governments must act. The best solution is to stop the abuse before it happens, through strong preventive measures, including sextortion education. The report also calls for more effective reporting mechanisms, independent investigations and clear sanction regimes for sextortion at all levels. In return, governments must do their part to regulate organizations and create financial incentives to encourage stronger action.


In this specific area, it becomes clear once again that a comprehensive whistleblower law is absolutely necessary. Protected channels for reports of corruption, “sextortion” and other crimes in companies but also in sports organizations must be put in place. TI-Austria has committed to putting in place a comprehensive whistleblower protection law and has published a recommendation document. It’s below link available: Demand Paper-Whistleblowing-EU-Guideline.pdf (

All reportwhich was published by the headquarters of Transparency International in Berlin, can be found below link:

[1] German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ): GIZ InDesign template for publications – DIN A4 fact sheets

[2] German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ): GIZ InDesign template for publications – DIN A4 fact sheets

[3] Sexual violence in organized sport in Germany – DSHS (

[4] Abuse proceedings: Five years in prison for Seisenbacher – court reports – › Panorama

Questions & contacts:


Luca Mak LL.M. / Executive Director
Tel: +43 (0) 1 960 760
Fax: +43 (0)1 960 760 760

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