103 Indians Offered To Pay A ‘10-Year-Old Girl’ To Strip In Dutch Online Hunt For Sex Predators

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This computer-generated ‘Sweetie’ was used to lure hundreds of suspected sex offenders.

AMSTERDAM – Enlisting the helpof a computer-generated 10-year-old Philippinegirl, Dutch children’s rights activiststurned online sex predators into their prey.In an online sting operated from ananonymous warehouse office in an Amsterdamindustrial park, activists fromTerre des Hommes set out to gauge thescale of a fast-growing Internet phenomenonthe Netherlands-based group callswebcam child sex tourism.The result was shocking, the group’sdirector of projects, Has Guyt toldThe Associated Press on Monday at thetiny Amsterdam office where Terre desHommes used the 3D digital animatedgirl they dubbed Sweetie to unmask 1,000Internet users they say wanted to pay towatch a child engage in sex acts via webcam.“If we don’t intervene soon, this sinisterphenomenon will totally run out ofcontrol,’’ Terre des Hommes director ofprojects Hans Guyt told The AssociatedPress as he stood in front of a wall plasteredwith the pixelated faces of adultsduped by Sweetie.He said webcam sex with minors,which usually involves men from wealthyWestern countries paying children fromimpoverished countries for sex shows, isstill “a cottage industry’’ and needs to bestamped out now.“It’s still not too late,’’ Guyt said.“Our worst scenario is that the same thingwill happen with this as has happened withchild pornography, that is now a multibilliondollar industry in the hands of criminalgangs.’’Terre des Hommes has posted a documentaryabout its 10-week investigationon YouTube and begun a petition aimed atpressing police and politicians to do moreto halt such illegal sex shows.“We do not need more laws … presentlegislation is suitable and more thanenough to cover these acts,’’ Guyt said ashe called for a “novel approach’’ to policingthe problem.Terre des Hommes’ novel approachinvolved using Sweetie as an online disguisefor a group of researchers who thenchatted to potential clients online.“We were swamped by men lookingfor contact, looking for sexual activitieswith us,’’ Guyt said.During a demonstration forAP early Monday, one of theresearchers logged into a publicchat room as Sweetie, identifyinghimself by her purported age,gender and country of origin.Seconds later, multiple pop-updialogue boxes began appearingon his screen from people usingpseudonyms and soliciting a girlwho had clearly identified herselfas 10 years old.One chat between the researcheridentifying himself asSweetie and one of the onlineusers went like this:Sweetie: “What you wantsee?’’User: “U.’’Sweetie: “What u pay for?’’User: “Naked.’’As he conversation progressed,they agreed a $20 feeto be paid by a wire transfer andSweetie asked for the person’sSkype address, but took the chatno further.Guyt said Terre desHommes, using basic researchtechniques and not hacking,was able to identify 1,000 adultsfrom 71 countries who solicitedSweetie. The group did not identifyany of them to media, butpassed the results of its investigationto Interpol.The top country of originfor the adults identified was theUnited States with 254, followedby Britain with 110 and Indiawith 103.It remains to be seen if anyof the people identified will beprosecuted, but the researchdemonstrated that it is relativelyeasy to find and identify suchadults.Terre des Hommes has foryears worked to combat childprostitution in Southeast Asiaand staff members noticed inrecent years that young prostituteswere disappearing fromtheir usual haunts: cafes, restaurantsand hotels frequentedby sex tourists. They discoveredthat sex tourists no longer haveto leave their homes to exploitchildren, thanks to the proliferationof high-speed Internet connections,Guyt said.He said child prostitutes, andin some cases children forced bytheir own impoverished parents,offer to perform sex acts onlinein return for money. Once paymenthas been received, oftenvia an online money transfer service,they will perform in frontof a webcam with the imagessent via a private chat room.The problem of online childexploitation is not new. A UnitedNations investigator said in 2009that more than 750,000 peopleare using child pornographysites at any one time. But the exploitationis being facilitated asthe world increasingly becomesinterconnected.Executive Director ofthe U.N. Office on Drugs andCrime, Yury Fedotov, told ameeting in September in Viennathat, “the digital age has exacerbatedthe problem and createdmore vulnerability to children.’’Terre des Hommes nowwants to bring that message to awider audience, using the Internetto spread the word.“We have to make sure theworld community understandsthe scale and nature of this phenomenon,’’Guyt said.

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