While some children made contact on their own, others were sold by pimps through so-called “cyber sex dens” and still others were offered up for sale by their own parents.Hans consulted with the team back in The Hague and then ordered an intensive six-month investigation of the phenomenon. Tens of thousands of children in the Philippines were suffering online abuse, found to be just as mentally damaging as physical sexual abuse. Only six men had ever been sentenced for the crime—and an estimated 750,000 individuals were online at any given moment looking to prey on children.
A pimp or someone else over 18 went to collect the money, and the show would begin.
Usually one or two girls would hold a towel as a makeshift screen in front of which another would take off her clothes and “perform” for the camera.
Burpengary, Queensland, Australia It was at pm on a warm July evening that Scott Robert Hansen first met Sweetie.
Sitting alone in front of a computer screen in his home not far from Brisbane, the single 36-year-old logged into a chat room and typed in the username “2 cam with kid.” Then he clicked “Kids Chat.” That’s when her username appeared: “9 f philippines.” Hansen knew that in the shady online networks he frequented, those letters could signify only one thing: a nine-year-old girl from the Philippines.
Hans had been with the organization since 1999, taking the lead on ambitious projects around the world.
Before that, the feisty 58-year-old was Greenpeace’s campaign director. But as he wandered the streets of Cebu’s slums, Hans marvelled at how the kids who had once sold their bodies here had all but disappeared. On nearly every corner, what had once been a shack was now an “internet cafe,” These rudimentary iron-roofed huts housed rows of cheap computers that connected to the web for a few cents a minute.Heart pounding, he typed: “Wanna chat or cam with older?I like asian chicks, u horny for action…i’m naked, ever seen a guy naked?Determined to get the word out, Hans invited two Dutch journalists to the Philippines to witness what was happening.One, a seasoned reporter named Elsbeth Stoker, wrote a feature for the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant.But Mark and Hans were adamant that the approach would work.