Nishtha KanalNov 09, 2013 14:23:53 IST
“My name is Sweetie, I am ten years old. I live in the Philippines,” says the virtual 10-year old girl created by a Netherlands-based charity group. “Every day I have to sit in front of the webcam and talk to men. The men ask to take off my clothes…But what they don't know. I'm not real.” The group has enlisted the computer model’s help to try and find pedophiles around the world to try and put a stop to the practice of webcam child sex tourism.
Enlisting a child for sexual purposes is a practice that has been outlawed by laws of most countries. The anonymity offered by the Internet, though, has managed to allow pedophiles to hoodwink authorities, offering minors money in return for performing sexual activities on the webcam for them. Members of the Terre des Hommes International Federation hit on a plan to create Sweetie in order to trap these pedophiles from the world over.
Catching pedophiles, one at a time
Using computer modeling, the group captured the movements of a real person and designed a 3D image of Sweetie. They would then be able to control the model’s movements using commands like “Yes” or “No” following which the image would react with a nod. While people think that Sweetie is a girl sitting in front of a webcam in the Philippines, she’s actually just a model being operated using an app from the Netherlands.
Terre des Hommes says that they managed to single out around 1,000 pedophiles from the world over in just 10 weeks this year. The group did not hack into computers, they say, but managed to zero down on suspects by coaxing them to reveal more information about themselves like their names, where they live, their Facebook accounts and more. Since the payment would happen using pre-paid credit cards, it was usually difficult to track these pedophiles down.
The researchers also released a report, apart from a video, to show their findings regarding the subject. Called “Becoming Sweetie: a novel approach to stopping the global rise of Webcam Child Sex Tourism,” the study is supposed to be an extensive one on the topic. The video reveals that besides the United States and Britain, India came in at the third position with most chats with Sweetie originating from, with 103 users.
The team collected and sent in information of 1,000 adults to the Interpol – including images and videos – with the aim of putting an end to the practice of Webcam Child Sex Tourism. There is also a petition started by the Terre des Hommes that has already reached 223,278 signatures of the required 500,000. The idea seems to be an ingenious one that targets the demand rather than the supply. Given the ability to be anonymous on the Internet, only six out of a whopping 750,000 pedophiles online have ever been convicted for paying younger people to perform sexual acts in front of the webcam. What seems to be a difficult task for the authorities seems to be one that a virtual 10-year old is managing to accomplish.
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