Sunday, January 5, 2014

Child Webcam Sex Tourism

Sweetie. "Sweetie", a cute pet name referring to a loved one. But sweetie is actually Sweetie, a real person...or so one would have thought...


Children are often disregarded in thought and respect. In a way almost treated as a lower form of life due to their inability to survive without care from others. Their opinions usually shoved to the side or hung out to dry. However, they see clearly what we make excuses for. While the world is slow in taking their voices into consideration Terre des Hommes is an international federation that serves for child advocacy- individually and as a whole.

As stated on their about page, the federations consists of a network of ten national organizations working for children's rights and to advance fair and impartial development without discrimination (racial, religious, political, cultural, or gender-based discrimination).  The areas in which it operates encompass over 60 countries/territories such as these:

Taken from Terre des Hommes

Also with national offices are located in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, & The Netherlands.

As of November 4th,  2013 Terre des Hommes- Netherlands released what is quite a shocking video on a topic that is unknown to many, but becoming an increasing problem. CHILD WEBCAM SEX TOURISM! You may have heard journalists, politicians or NGO's refer to it in their rare discussions as cyber sex tourism, pay-per-view child porn, or cyber child pornography. It's an actual thing and is defined to be

"when adults pay to direct and view live-streaming video footage of children in another country performing sexual acts in front of a webcam."

 With apps such as Facebook Video, Skype, Oovoo, FaceTime, etc. child pedophilia can be increasingly practiced without worries of facing future legal issues. This new form of child exploitation has gotten thousands of children from just the Philippines- both boys and girls- as young as six years old involved. So what did they do about it? They created Sweetie. In less than two and a half months researchers were able to capture over 1,000 online predators from 71 different countries that were willing to fork out cash in return for the performance of sexual acts, using Sweetie. (Check out the video below).

Researchers spent a total of 1,600 hours over a total of ten weeks posing as Sweetie. Over 20,000 online predators from all over the world initiated contact. But the video explained that only six online predators have ever been charged of Child Webcam Sex Tourism (WCST). WHAT!? This statement alone raises multiple questions:

 1) Where is WCST occurring?
2) How is it possible that this phenomenon can take place?
3) What are governments doing about it?
4) How can it be combatted?

  • Although, the research performed by the Netherlands team was Philippines specific, where it is widespread a report by the Netherlands Police Department stated that it was highly unlikely that Webcam Child Sex Tourism only occurs within the Philippines.
  • WCST occurs because of a multiplicity of reasons. One would think that very undeveloped countries would have trouble procuring computers, or even internet access for its general population. However, a study done showed that forty percent of the world's population was using the internet by the beginning of 2013 and that from 2005 to 2012 the amount of individuals using the internet had increased by at least twenty two percent within the developing world. Another reason for the occurrence of WCST is it's high demand, and the easy income it brings for those with little financial stability. A lot of the times parents, families, and community members will even encourage or coerce their children into entering these chatrooms. Then, there is the added easiness because of online dating sites, social networking sites, or from "cybersex den" operators. Also the children completing these acts can readily gain access using any home computer, internet cafĂ©, or through the "den", which is often a windowless/dungeon like building in which women & children are held against their will. 
  • In response to this law enforcement agencies around the world have executed "reactive" investigation policies, which means action is taken until a victim or their parents have stepped forward to report the crime. Yet, children nor their parents come clean when it is one of the only sources of a reliable income for the families. Both the policy and unresponsiveness of the victims make it harder for these crimes to be proved. This sounds oddly familiar...probably because the same outstanding conditions facilitate human trafficking.
  • WSCT can be prevented by enacting proactive law enforcement policies within ALL countries. Terre des Hommes is willing to lend its hand to governments and agencies to track and I.D. predators using its virtual technology. The use of Sweetie does not violation individual privacy nor require the use of computer hacking making it legal. If demand is cut, supply can be curbed. It is everyone's responsibility to protect children no matter the place or situation.

All information published within this individual BASI document can be found at the Terre des Hommes website and documents found on the domain. 

Common questions and report of the extensive research for WSCT can be found within these Terre des Hommes published documents.

*Quick note: How does the destruction caused by the recent typhoon in the Philippines -where WCST and human trafficking are common- affect the population? What will happen to the new families without any shelter or food? 

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