Filippino police arrest American citizen for webcam child sex

The Filippino police have arrested a 53-year- old man in Manila who produced large-scale webcam sex shows with children for paying customers around the world. The American citizen was caught red-handed when the police raided his house. During the raid the police rescued two girls of 9 and 11 years old.

Sexual exploitation

The two girls were immediately taken to a shelter where they will receive support and therapy. In the American citizen’s house the police found computers and photo albums with childpornography, children’s underwear and sex toys. When the police raided the house, the man tried to delete files from the computers that were turned on. The police tracked the man down via an international payment service provider who reported a suspicious transaction with an American Internet provider.

Parents often involved

Webcam child sex occurs frequently in the Philippines. It is an easy way for the poor population to earn some money. Internet connections are good, they speak English and people erroneously think that this form of abuse is less harmful for children. In many cases, parents or entire neighbourhoods are involved in the ‘sex shows’ for paying customers from around the world. They protect each other because there is a lot of money involved, which makes it difficult for the police to deal with this form of child exploitation.

Foreigner makes case unique

The arrest does not come as a surprise to Hans Guijt, Sweetie Project Manager at Terre des Hommes, but he finds the case remarkable: “What makes this case unique is the fact that it doesn’t concern a local network of parents and neighbours, but a foreigner who can run a network. The man also had a thorough knowledge of IT and used advanced techniques for live-streaming sex shows without being noticed. He had already been working as a system administrator in the Philippines for over two years.” According to Guijt several individuals have been arrested in the Philippines since 2012, but until now no one has been convicted for this form of sexual exploitation of children. It is because the Philippines judicial system is overloaded. This worries him.“ Too many people in the Philippines still feel that as long as no one is convicted it apparently doesn’t concern a serious crime.”

Sweetie stops demand for webcam child sex

Already in 2013 Terre des Hommes demonstrated the nature and scope of this problem with the Sweetie investigation. With the virtual Filippino girl, over 1,000 offenders of webcam sex with children were exposed within two months time. Based on this success, Terre des Hommes, together with a team of experts, is currently developing a chatbot that can monitor thousands of chat rooms at the same time and recognizes and deters online child abusers. In this way, Terre des Hommes wants to tackle the demand side. The project 'Sweetie 2.0: Stop webcam child sex' is made possible by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

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