Computer-Generated Child Nabs 1K Predators
Organization warns that 'webcam child sex tourism' is on the rise
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2013 7:48 AM CST
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(Newser) – Dutch children's rights activists have come up with a novel way to catch online predators: They created a very realistic computer-generated 10-year-old girl. Researchers from the organization, Terre des Hommes, then posed as "Sweetie," who was supposedly from the Philippines, and logged onto Internet chat rooms. During the 10-week sting, 20,000 people contacted Sweetie, the BBC reports; out of those, 1,000 adults solicited her, offering to pay to watch her undress or perform sex acts via webcam. The US was the top country of origin, with 254 solicitors, then Britain with 110. Here's a sample chat that occurred during a demonstration given to the AP:

  • Sweetie: "What you want see?"
  • User: "U."
  • Sweetie: "What u pay for?"
  • User: "Naked."

In that case, the user ended up offering $20 via wire transfer. But Terre des Hommes never actually accepted any money, CNET reports, and it didn't have to do any hacking to identify the users—they offered up their Skype handles, social media profiles, and even pictures and phone numbers to Sweetie, and Terre des Hommes turned that information over to Interpol, though it's not clear anyone will actually be prosecuted. The organization is looking to bring attention to so-called "webcam child sex tourism," which they say minors from poor countries are often forced into. Right now it's still a "cottage industry," the director of projects says, but if authorities don't do more to halt the practice, "the same thing [could] happen with this as has happened with child pornography—that is now a multibillion dollar industry in the hands of criminal gangs."

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Nov 8, 2013 11:40 AM CST
How are they going to make any of these charges stick? The pictures are of a nonexistant child so there isn't a victim. And while getting predators off the streets is a laudible goal I can see this being argued that looking at a manufactured picture of a naked child is not technically any different than looking at a painting of a cherub. How is this actually going to work?
Nov 6, 2013 9:40 PM CST
Watch out, Japan! You'll never know if it's a human or not on the other end anymore when you sick sexual deviants are trying to pick up your favourite little schoolgirls!!! Now they need to create a BOY one and take down some priests too :-) i laughed at the lingo they used in this trap. They should've also said: "Me so horny. Me love you long time".
Hyon the Hog
Nov 6, 2013 5:30 PM CST
876 of those were Computer-Generated Predators. The balance were Computer-Generated Aliens.