Terres des Hommes is Helping Put an End to Webcam Sex Tourism
Terres des Hommes is a network of ten different national children’s organizations, which have banded together to help aid children around the globe and put an end to their exploitation. Without any discrimination based on race, age, gender, religion or political affiliations, they focus on a variety of issues that children face.
One of their current campaigns involves helping bring awareness to the abuse of innocent children through online ‘webcam sex tourism’. What this entails are men, most often from wealthy countries, who pay children in the developing world to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. It is an epidemic with thousands of interactions happening on a daily basis, and the general public being virtually blind to these predatory situations.
Terres de Hommes has taken an interesting and preemptive approach to help this horrible global problem. They have created a computer-generated ten-year-old girl named Sweetie to help them track down online child predators. Their view is, “if nothing is being done on the demand side, then this phenomenon will only increase even further”. So they are actively pursuing criminals in the online sphere where crimes are being committed, to catch these individuals.
In order to trap predators, they must be in the act of committing a crime. That is why this organization is not only posing as a young Filipino girl online; they are actually bringing her to life through an avatar. Once the men feel comfortable with Sweetie, the individuals behind the operation find little traces of information that they release through the online chat, in order to track the men down through Google and Facebook. In two months alone, Terres de Hommes has tracked down 1000 online predators.
With the United States estimating that 750,000 pedophiles are online at any given moment, Terres de Hommes estimates that tens of thousands of children, as young as six years old, are being abused behind webcams in the Philippines alone. Yet, the number of men with convictions related to this type of crime is only six, and that is the number of all countries around the globe combined. This is due to the difficulty in proving these types of crimes. But with this innovative approach to catching online predators, there is now hope that justice will be served to at least some individuals.
You can also watch this video which discusses the campaign in detail.