Integrity Talk 7 – Sextortion and Basic Public Services

Preventing Corruption and Ensuring Equitable Access to Water, Sanitation, Health, and Education

Organised with UNU-MERIT


June 7th from 14-15:30 CET

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Sexual extortion or “sextortion” is a gendered form of corruption in which sex is used as bribe currency rather than money. It is a global issue that involves the abuse of power and it can happen in any sector where power imbalances exist, including government, law enforcement, industries, or services delivery. While evidence suggests that women are disproportionately vulnerable to sextortion, children, men, undocumented migrants, transgender, and non-binary individuals are also at risk. Despite its prevalence, sextortion has been a silent form of corruption, hiding in plain view and posing a serious threat to the integrity of institutions and the well-being of the survivors and victims. 

Sextortion affects the provision of many basic public services, including water, sanitation, education, and health. In many cases, there are no safe reporting mechanisms providing the support survivors and victims of sexual abuse often need. The practice is commonly not reported and remains taboo, under-researched, and misunderstood. 

How does sextortion manifest in the delivery of basic public services? How do power imbalances contribute to sextortion in these sectors? And what can an integrity perspective do to prevent sextortion and secure the delivery of basic public services? 

In this Integrity Talk, we will discuss how sextortion impacts the delivery of water, sanitation, health, and education and the implication for the well-being of women and marginalised groups. We will also explore how applying the principles of integrity can help prevent sextortion and secure equitable and safe access to basic public services. 

Moderator: Alana Potter (End Water Poverty) 


  • Nancy Hendry (International Association of Women Judges) 
  • Dolores Calvo (Department of Government, Uppsala University) 
  • Ortrun Merkle (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance/UNU-Merit) 
  • Robert Gillanders (Anti-Corruption Research Center, Dublin City University Business School) 
  • Sareen Malik (KEWASNET) 

Interpreter: Elisenda Palau


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