A Dutch organisation for children’s rights has identified more than 1,000 sexual predators after creating a computer generated Filipino girl named ‘Sweetie’ to entice them into asking for child porn.
The Dutch chapter of the group Terre des Hommes (TDH) created the 10-year-old girl and then posed as her on Internet chat rooms to conduct a sting operation to unmask webcam child- sex tourists.
For two-and-a-half months earlier this year, the researchers pretended to be the girl while working undercover in a warehouse in an industrial part of Amsterdam — and the results were instant.
They were quickly approached by more than 20,000 predators from 71 countries, and on Monday, they gave the identities of 1,000 of these alleged predators to Interpol. The top country of origin for the adults identified was the United States with 254, followed by Britain with 110 and India with 103.
“The moment we got online, we were swamped, like an avalanche,” TDH special projects director Hans Guyt said in a webcast from the Hague, the Globe and Mail reported.
“If we don’t intervene soon, this sinister phenomenon will totally run out of control,” he added.
He said webcam sex with minors — which usually involves men from Western countries paying children from impoverished countries for sex shows — is still “a cottage industry” and needs to be stopped.
“It’s still not too late,” Guyt said. “Our worst scenario is that the same thing will happen with this as has happened with child pornography — that is now a multi-billion dollar industry in the hands of criminal gangs.” TDH has posted a documentary about its 10-week investigation on YouTube and begun a petition aimed at pressing police and politicians to do more to halt such illegal sex shows.
These children are usually forced to do this by adults or by extreme poverty. Sometimes they have to testify against their own family, which is almost an impossible thing to do for a child”, explains Guyt.
“We do not need more laws...present legislation is suitable and more than enough to cover these acts,” Guyt said as he called for a “novel approach” to solve the problem.
During a demonstration for AP on Monday, one of the researchers logged into a public chat room as Sweetie — identifying himself by her purported age, gender and country of origin.
Seconds later, multiple pop-up dialogue boxes began appearing on his screen. One chat between the researcher identifying himself as Sweetie and an online user started with Sweetie asking: “What you want see?” The user responded: “ U.” Sweetie replied: “What u pay for?” And the user added: “ Naked.”
The process of identifying predators for this project is explained in a short documentary that can be viewed at youtube.com/sweetie