In a unique sting operation, a Dutch charity has helped authorities identify 1,000 pedophiles using someone who doesn’t even exist.
An avatar created to look like a Filipino girl was used as bait to lure men who prey on children online.
When she logs into internet chat rooms, the avatar named “Sweetie” was immediately bombarded by requests, according to the charity Terre des Hommes,
The charity reported that 20,000 men contacted Sweetie within the first 10 weeks.
“With the extension of the internet, with decreasing prices of the internet, it will get more and more accessible, not just for the western part of this globe but also for the developing world, which means there will be more victims, there will be more children exposed to this phenomenon,” Hans Guijt of Terre Des Hommes said.
The charity has launched a campaign to end so-called “web cam tourism” where men go online to pay children from developing countries to perform sex acts.
“We have shifted our attention to the demand side if nothing is done about the source of this problem, this phenomenon will only increase even further,” Guijt said.
The charity turned over the identities of the 1,000 men who offered Sweetie money to local authorities.
CNN contributed to this report.