Child avatar used to track down sex predators

Child avatar used to track down sex predators

ATLANTA, Ga. (CNN) – An Australian man is believed to be the first convicted as the result of an online sex sting centered around a virtual girl.

Men from all over the world: three, four, five times her age asked her to perform sexual acts in front of her webcam. Thousands of men solicit her and so far, they have gone unpunished until now.

An Australian man is the first to be convicted of soliciting sex from Sweetie. His name is Scott Robert Hansen, and he has been sentenced to two years in prison by a court in Brisbane for charges related to child sex abuse. What Hansen didn’t realize as he was trying to exploit Sweetie was that she was actually the one who would fool him.

Sweetie is a computer model, made piece by piece to track down the online predators. She is the digital creation of Dutch Ngo Terre Des Hommes. They use her avatar to pose on internet chat rooms, baiting men who go online to prey on young children.

In 10 weeks, the charity says some 20,000 men contacted Sweetie with one thousand offering her money for explicit acts.  A number, the charity’s director says highlights the demand.

“We were actually quite taken aback by the findings of our Sweetie project, because you’ll forget about the stereotype. Most of these men that we encountered on the internet were so-called, were ordinary men, people with wives, people with families with children, with jobs, with cars, with houses with mortgages, with debts, you know ordinary men,” said Hans Guyt, Terre Des Hommes.

The charity was launched as a campaign to end so-called “web cam tourism” – where men go online to pay children from developing countries to perform sex acts. Men like Scott Richard Hansen, who – in logs of his conversation with sweetie, he asked: “Hi u really 9yo,” and “I like Asian chicks, are you… for action?”

“According to the judge in Brisbane it doesn’t actually matter whether it is real girl or a real child or a virtual child, a computer model.  What counts is that the man in question considered and thought he was dealing with a child from the Philippines, because it opens the doors to other countries and to other jurisdictions to try and use this particular sentence,” Guyt said. “In most countries there is a huge legal problem because in many countries – it’s not even allowed – police don’t even have a mandate to carry out say undercover or sting operations.”

In 10 weeks the charity says some 200-thousand men have contacted Sweetie from 71 countries.


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