A computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina girl has caught 1,000 pedophiles around the world who are paying for child porn.
The Dutch chapter of the children’s rights group Terre des Hommes created the virtual girl called “Sweetie” as part of a sting operation to track down adults who were willing to pay children in developing countries to perform sexual act in front of the webcam.
Asked why choose a Filipina girl as a model, Terre des Hommes shared with Marketing that they have identified webcam child sex tourism as an “enormous problem in the Philippines.”
“In order to properly research it, we had to go underground and investigate the Filipino side of it. The research period took just over 2 months while producing and editing the film was done in a month.”
Terre des Hommes researchers pretended to be the girl while working undercover in a warehouse in Amsterdam for two-and-a-half months.
The result was instantaneous, tracking down 20,000 child exploiters from more than 65 countries by gathering information on Sweetie’s customers through social media. The identities of 1,000 of these alleged predators were submitted to Interpol.
“The internet is free, but not lawless,” says Hans Guyt, director of campaigns at Terre des Hommes Netherlands.
“It is not a problem of existing laws… We want governments to adopt proactive investigation policies that give law enforcement agencies the mandate to actively patrol public Internet hotspots where this child abuse is taking place every day. The child predators doing this now feel that the law doesn’t apply to them,” he adds.
Despite the fact that webcam child sex tourism is banned by most national and international laws, only 6 perpetrators worldwide have been convicted of this crime.