'SWEETIE 2.0: STOP WEBCAM CHILD SEX’

'Sweetie 2.0: webcamseks met kinderen de wereld uit' Terre des Hommes

At any time of the day, an estimated 750,000 men are looking for online webcam sex with children, even while you are reading this. Despite global outrage about this phenomenon, perpetrators still have their way unpunished. Building on the successful approach with the virtual girl Sweetie, Terre des Hommes, supported by international specialists, is developing an advanced method to counter the problem of worldwide webcam child sex. To make this happen, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has donated over € 3.8 million euros to Terre des Hommes.

Background

Sweetie 2.0

The figures are staggering: every single day hundreds of thousands of children are victim of webcam sex. The official estimate is that at any time of the day, over 750,000 men worldwide are looking for online sex with children in more than 40,000 public chat rooms.

The 'Sweetie' research, carried out at the end of 2013, showed the extent and nature of webcam child sex tourism worldwide. It also proved that a proactive approach works. The research has had many positive effects. It was followed by a global outrage which persuaded the United Nations to put the subject high on its agenda. In the Philippines, children were rescued from internet dens. However, this is not enough to put this phenomenon to a quick stop, says Terre des Hommes. Still, millions of potential perpetrators consider themselves undetected. It is still too easy to approach children for sex through the internet.

With its ‘Sweetie 2.0: stop webcam child sex’ campaign, Terre des Hommes takes it all a step further to eradicate webcam child sex once and for all. In a joint action with national and international specialists, Terre des Hommes is working on an innovative software system that can be implemented worldwide to combat webcam sex with children. This software is aimed at identifying and deterring millions of potential offenders. The system will be entirely aligned with national and international frameworks for investigation and prosecution. At the same time, we carry out extensive research into the impact of this preventive approach.  

With Sweetie 2.0, Terre des Hommes and its partners, with the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery and its participants, can prevent hundreds of thousands of children from becoming victim of this horrible form of sexual exploitation. After all, that’s Terre des Hommes’ main concern: to provide for children to grow up safely.  

Goals

About webcam child sex

Webcam sex with children, also known as webcam child sex tourism, is a relatively new phenomenon where children are paid to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. According to estimates, tens of thousands of children are victim of this form of exploitation in the Philippines alone.

Poverty is the main reason why children in developing countries are exploited via webcam. In some cases, children operate on their own from Internet cafes, but there are also more organised forms involving pimps who recruit children and put them in front of a camera in enclosed spaces.

Parents who force their own children to perform sex shows in front of a web cam console themselves with the delusion that there is no real harm in web cam performances because of the lack of physical contact. Extensive research by psychologists of Terre des Hommes however shows that these children do in fact suffer from trauma.

How we work

The increasing popularity of internet and mobile phones in developing countries enables the increasing demand to be met. It is very easy for offenders to make online contact with young, impoverished victims, which is another reason for the quick rise of webcam child sex. In the meantime, the vast majority of the perpetrators get away with it: since 2007, only seven offenders have been convicted.

Being a form of commercial sexual exploitation of children, webcam child sex is strictly forbidden by international law. The national criminal laws of many countries too prohibit webcam child sex directly or indirectly as a form of child pornography and/or child prostitution. The problem however is that these laws are rarely respected or enforced. Children hardly ever report their exploitation to the police and neither do their parents as they are often involved in the webcam shows themselves. Gathering evidence is another major challenge as the webcam shows take place live and leave no traces on the computer.

 

Results

Terre des Hommes is deeply concerned about the development of webcam sex with children and believes that the time has come to take action. This is why Terre des Hommes is working on an innovative method that can be implemented worldwide to combat webcam sex with children, in a joint action with national and international specialists and building of the successful Sweetie approach. Results will be published soon.