Virtual child lures online sex predators

In a unique sting operation, a Dutch NGO has identified a thousand pedophiles — by using someone who doesn’t even exist.

They created an avatar of a young filipino girl to set a trap for men who prey on children online.

“My name is Sweetie, I’m ten years old. I live in the Philippines. Every day I have to sit in front of the webcam and talk to men.”

When she logs online to internet chat rooms, sweetie is bombarded by requests.

“The men ask me to take off my clothes. They undress.”

Men from all over the world:? three, four, five times her age ask her to perform sexual acts in front of her webcam.

“As soon as I go online, they come to me. Ten, hundred, every hour. So many.”

But Sweetie also has a secret.

“But what they don’t know: I’m not real. I’m a computer model, made piece by piece to track down the men who do this.”

She’s the creation of Dutch NGO terre des hommes.

They use her avatar to pose on internet chat rooms, baiting men who go online to prey on young children.

In ten weeks, the charity says some twenty thousand men contacted Sweetie…

With one thousand offering her money for explicit acts.

A number, the charity’s director says illustrates the demand.

“With the extension of the internet, with decreasing prices of the internet, it will get more and more accessible, not just for the western part of this globe but also for the developing world, which means there will be more victims, there will be more children exposed to this phenomenon.”

The charity has launched a campaign to end so-called “web cam tourism” – where mengo online to pay children from developing countries to perform sex acts.

“We have shifted our attention to the demand side if nothing is done about the source of this problem, this phenomenon will only increase even further. ”

The charity has given the identities of the one thousand men who offered sweetie money to authorities.

While Sweetie’s true identity is now known, it’s hoped she’ll still act as a deterrent.

The project serving as a warning to predators — that they can also become prey.

 

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