So how best to tackle this crime before it falls under control of criminal gangs (like the multi-billion dollar child pornography “industry”)?The Terre des Hommes “sting” operation involved researchers creating a computer model (called Sweetie) of a 10-year-old Filipino girl and using her as bait to lure predators online over a 10 week period in the summer.
Online sexual predators solicit purported 10-year-old Filipino girl ‘Sweetie’, left in a computer-generated image, through a public chat room, right, while actually chatting to a Terre des Hommes researcher in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Image: Peter Dejong/AP/Press Association Images The operation was carried out from a basement in an Amsterdam warehouse and produced astounding and shocking results.
Research by Terre des Hommes in several locations in the Philippines into participation in webcam child sex tourism (WCST) amongst both families involved in prostitution and families solely engaging in webcam child sex, although a preliminary report, reveals how children are coerced into performing sex acts in their own house by parents.
Cases involving up to 5 siblings have been recorded, and children as young as three months.
The “sting” has drawn a lot of publicity around the issue, including some criticism of Terre des Hommes for attempting to take the law into their own hands, or for basing their findings on a computer model.
Rather, Terre des Hommes have managed to produce a tool for law enforcement agencies to use to deter the exponential growth of this practice.Many of these children will go on to become prostitutes and lady boys.Law enforcement has not kept up with this sordid off-shoot of the social media revolution.Terre des Hommes is also providing a Toolkit which contains detailed information on the methodology applied in the sting operation to law enforcement agencies, with whom we have good working relationships. As a Europol spokesman said: ”We believe that criminal investigations using intrusive surveillance measures should be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement agencies” Touchè. For a perpetrator to be identified and brought to court a child or parent would have to notify the police.