crime

'Virtual' 10-year-old snares 1,000 webcam sex tourists

16 Comments

A Dutch rights group said Monday it had identified over 1,000 pedophiles around the world by offering online sex with a computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina girl called Sweetie.

Terre des Hommes Netherlands has now handed over to police the identities of those who were willing to pay children in developing countries for online sex, a growing phenomenon, it said.

"They were ready to pay Sweetie for sexual acts in front of her webcam," the rights group's head Albert Jaap van Santbrink told journalists in The Hague.

The group said it wanted to raise the alarm about a largely unknown but quickly spreading new form of child exploitation that has tens of thousands of victims in the Philippines alone, known as webcam child sex tourism.

Sweetie was created by the child rights group and deployed in Internet chat rooms from a remote building in Amsterdam.

Within a 10-week period, over 20,000 predators from 71 countries approached Sweetie, asking for webcam sex performances.

In one exchange, a man named "Older4young", identified as a 35-year-old father of two from Atlanta in the United States, asks Sweetie to undress for $10.

"Turn on your cam. I'm horny," the man wrote.

While they were chatting with the "girl", researchers gathered information about her customers through social media.

Using this information, researchers identified the abusers and passed the information on to police.

"The biggest problem is that the police don't take action until child victims file reports, but children almost never report these crimes," said head of campaigns Hans Guyt.

The men involved were "fathers, musicians, an architect", Santbrink told AFP.

They "come from all over the world, from America, Europe, but also from countries like India, Japan, Korea", said Guyt.

The rights group said they used the same procedures as the police.

"But OK, we are not prosecutors, we are not judges, it will be for them to decide what to do with the elements we gave them," Guyt said.

The researchers involved found the experience shocking.

"To put yourself in the shoes of a 10-year-old Filipina girl and seeing what some men want from you has been a shocking experience for them," he said. "Some demands and acts were really obscene."

Terre des Hommes said that they did not approach anyone on the Internet but instead waited for people to approach Sweetie and ask for sex acts.

The rights group also stopped the conversation as soon as someone offered Sweetie money for sex acts.

"It is obvious that we did not show these people any sexual acts, we stopped before that," Van Santbrink said.

The rights group wants police around the world to have a mandate to actively patrol chat rooms where the abuse is taking place.

"The child predators doing this now feel that the law doesn't apply to them. The Internet is free, but not lawless," said Guyt.

According to the UN and the FBI, there are over 750,000 child predators online at any given moment, Terre des Hommes said, also announcing an online petition to pressure governments to adopt proactive investigation policies.

Yet only six people have been convicted of engaging in webcam child sex tourism in the world, the rights group said.

"It would have been easy with greater resources to identify 10,000 people," Guyt said.

© (c) 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Cut off their nads! The sick bastards!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Good start. But what if someone didn't believe that she was really a 10-yr-old girl (lot of cynics in the internet) and was just playing around?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I'd be suspicious of anyone who thought it appropriate to "just play around" at being a pedophile. Not something one would or should joke about, and if such "playing around" were to garner the unwanted attention of police, is it really reasonable to feel the jokester is being unfairly put upon? I think not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great initiative by TdH, but unfortunately a lot of the people they caught apparently cant be prosecuted as they didn't actually do anything bad except talk dirty with a virtual model.

That being said, I hope these perv's are being tracked even after they cant be prosecuted.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wait wair wait, surely some of these guys noticed it was just a virtually created girl, right? If they knew it wasn't a real girl, they didn't technically do anything wrong, right?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

None of those names will go to trial, because they didn't exhibit pedophilia. They exhibited sexual interest in a computer program. Unless a country has a law against getting aroused over a computer image and "chatting" with a computer program, this is going to be a tough sell in a courtroom.

It doesn't matter what they THOUGHT. When you start prosecuting people for what they thought, you've just made Orwell's dystopia a reality. ("Thoughtcrime", anyone?)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Interesting observation Fadamor. But you have to wonder if you do want this type running around loose. I wonder what would be found if their hard drives were looked at. Hmmmm - did the Dutch group have a trojan horse program that was uploaded? They might have missed an opportunity....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

None of those names will go to trial, because they didn't exhibit pedophilia. They exhibited sexual interest in a computer program. Unless a country has a law against getting aroused over a computer image and "chatting" with a computer program, this is going to be a tough sell in a courtroom.

I don't know. Isn't this similar to what Dateline did with To Catch a Predator? In some places it's illegal to solicit stuff like that from someone you believe to be under age. A lot of those guys on TCAP were jailed even though they were talking to women in their 20's.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Terre des Hommes, we solute you!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Fadamor you didn't think your point through at all, if you can't prosecute someone for what they think they're about to do, you couldn't jail someone for "attempting" or "conspiring" to murder.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

jumpultimatestars: I thought you had a valid point, but then...authorities can't prosecute for attempting or conspiring to commit murder unless certain and specific actions are taken (i.e. purchasing a weapon specifically for a murder, soliciting someone to commit a murder, putting a plan in motion to commit a murder.) Attempting and conspiring are physical actions, not a thought process.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@goyabento

Since murder and child porn are different crimes, there are different lines that need to be crossed before you're classed as "attempting".

You even say:

soliciting someone to commit a murder

I would say that asking a kid to do something sexual on camera, is very similar to that.

Attempting and conspiring are physical actions, not a thought process.

So is asking a child to undress on camera while you're cranking your junk.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ProbieNov. 06, 2013 - 10:54AM JST @goyabento Since murder and child porn are different crimes, there are different lines that need to be crossed before you're classed as "attempting". You even say: soliciting someone to commit a murder I would say that asking a kid to do something sexual on camera, is very similar to that. Attempting and conspiring are physical actions, not a thought process. So is asking a child to undress on camera while you're cranking your junk.

Yes, except they were asking a chat script with a 3d rendered face to do stuff, it's no more illegal than shooting enemies in a video game is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sick sick twisted word we live in!! Parents watch your kids!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probie: You're validating the point I'm trying to make. There were specific requests/actions taken, so this was not a thought process at all. I was reponding to a comparison of thinking and attempting/consiring to do something.

Magnus: That's an interesting point (seriously).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Beasts.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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