One Thousand Pedophiles From 65 Countries Identified In Webcam Child Sex Sting

Nov 5, 2013
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Details of 110 adults in UK handed to Interpol after Dutch investigators posed in chatrooms as 10-year-old Filipina girl in webcam child sex sting.

More than 100 adults in the UK have been caught attempting to pay children to perform sex acts over the internet, according to a leading child protection agency.

Investigators from Terre des Hommes Netherlands said they had snared 110 internet users in the UK after posing as a 10-year-old girl named Sweetie in public chatrooms described as havens for child predators.

Personal details of the 110 men were handed to Interpol on Monday following the sting, which investigators said identified 1,000 people from 65 countries who had attempted to solicit underage girls using webcams.

At a press conference in The Hague, the group’s director of campaigns, Hans Guyt, outlined what he described as a new phenomenon of webcam child sex tourism.

“We are convinced that if we don’t publish our research on this phenomenon now, it will only get worse. It will turn into a multibillion-pound industry in the hands of criminal gangs. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Guyt said.

Researchers said they were swamped by offers from 20,000 internet users to pay for webcam sex performances when they posed in chatrooms as Sweetie, supposedly a 10-year-old Filipina girl.

A 10-week investigation conducted from a warehouse in Amsterdam tracked down 1,000 of these users and uncovered personal details including their real names, addresses and telephone numbers.


It found that 110 of the alleged online abusers were based in the UK and another 254 were traced to computers in the US. The researchers said online child exploitation was becoming a hardened criminal industry in the Philippines, with tens of thousands of children estimated to be victims.

“These people think they’re invisible. They think they’re untouchable. They think that no one is watching,” said Guyt. “This demonstrates how widespread the phenomenon is already. The only way to find these people is to look for them – a new approach, an active form of policing.”

In a 60-page report described as the most comprehensive study to date on child exploitation using webcams, the researchers say their findings represent a small fraction of abuse happening each day. They call for a radical change in policing to pro-actively try to track down the people attempting to solicit children online.

Guyt said: “We have collected evidence and presented our findings, which have led us to the conclusion that if proactive investigation policies are not immediately and widely adopted, the phenomenon of webcam child sex tourism will continue to grow into a larger, more criminalized, more intractable industry within the Philippines and in other countries where poverty persists and internet access rates are rising.

“The biggest problem is that the police don’t take action until child victims file reports, but children almost never report these crimes. These children are usually forced to do this by adults or by extreme poverty. Sometimes they have to testify against their own family, which is almost an impossible thing to do for a child. The child predators doing this now feel that the law does not apply to them. The internet is free, but not lawless.”

Only six people have been convicted over crimes relating to webcam child sex tourism, according to the researchers. The most recent, Timothy Ford, 52, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was jailed for eight and half years in March after being found guilty of arranging or facilitating the prostitution of a Filipino child over the internet.


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