International Children's Rights Group Exposes Webcam Child Sex Tourism

Internet sex crimes against children typically involve child pornography or online solicitation of minors. Child sex tourism generally involves travel to foreign lands to engage in child prostitution. Now, however, an international children's rights group has exposed the marriage of internet sex crimes and sex tourism in a shocking form sexual exploitation of children--webcam child sex tourism. Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF) defines webcam child sex tourism as follows: "Webcam Child Sex Tourism, also known as WCST, is when adults pay to direct and view live-streaming video footage of children in another country performing sexual acts in front of a webcam. The nature of those performances varies depending on the requests of predators. Child victims of WCST in the Philippines report that they pose naked, show intimate body parts, masturbate, and sometimes have sex with others at the request of predators in another country who pay to view and direct these sexual acts. WCST is the confluence of two forms of child sexual exploitation: child pornography and child prostitution. Thus, international laws and most national laws prohibit WCST, but, despite that fact, this form of child sex abuse is growing increasingly common." Terre des Hommes Netherlands, the Dutch chapter of TDHIF, recently revealed that the organization identified 1,000 child sex predators from 65 countries who attempted to solicit sexual activity via webcam from a digital decoy named "Sweetie," a replica of a 10-year-old Filipino girl. The agency says that in two and a half months, the computer generated virtual girl received solicitations from more than 20,000 people. The organization was successful in identifying 1,000 of those, including 254 Americans, according to an NBC news report. They say that child webcam sex tourism affects tens of thousands of children in the Phillipines alone. Terre des Hommes is not a law enforcement agency, but rather a child welfare advocacy group. The organization has turned over the video chats and evidence from its investigation to Dutch authorities, who will then submit the evidence to Interpol. Child sexual exploitation is often the result of extreme poverty, and adult family members may force children into sexual activity in an effort to generate income for the family. The sexual exploitation of children is also a matter of greed, in which unscrupulous men and women pimp out children and teens strictly to generate profit. A World Bank report on human trafficking says that the total annual profit of transnational human trafficking is $32 billion. The report further reveals, "In the United States, traffickers make on average $67,200 annually per victim of nonconsensual sexual exploitation." According to the 2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 27 percent of all victims of human trafficking are children. Two-thirds of child victims are girls. Child sex tourism and child sexual exploitation are federal crimes. Under federal law, a minor under the age of 18 cannot consent to commercial sex acts, including pornography, exotic dancing, and prostitution, even if he or she is above the legal age of consent to sex. Furthermore, sex tourism is against the law even if the "illicit sex act" (typically child prostitution) for which one travels is legal in the destination country. Read more about federal sex crimes on our website, or contact us to schedule a free, confidential evaluation of your case.