As child sex tourism becomes an increasingly alarming problem worldwide, so does the campaign to fight it.
In 2013, the Sweetie avatar was launched by international anti-child exploitation organization Terre des Hommes Netherlands.
Who is Sweetie?
Sweetie is a virtual 1o-year-old Filipina girl designed to identify pedophiles around the world in select chat rooms.
In just 10 weeks since Sweetie began working in 19 public chatrooms, she identified at least 1,000 pedophiles.
Of these 1,000 pedophiles, 8 known convictions have succeeded in Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Denmark.
READ: Meet Sweetie| The Filipino Girl who Caught 1000 Sex Predators
According to the United Nations and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, at least 750,000 pedophiles are consistently online.
Around tens of thousands of Filipino children are in danger of becoming prey to online child pornographers.
According to Sun Star, Terre des Hommes found that online pedophiles and pornographers prefer Filipino children over any other nationality. They concluded that when Sweetie introduced herself as a young Filipina, the response was staggering and it helped them pinpoint more pedophiles.
Sweetie steps up her game
As part of the move to broaden their reach, Terre des hommes will no longer be manually monitoring chatrooms ‘Sweetie’ is a part of.’ Automatic chatbots will be online round the clock to efficiently monitor all chatrooms simultaneously and to succesfully intervene before any crime has happened.
Sweetie 2.0 is now in the final phase of development. She is set to be launched in April of 2016.
In partnership with specialists all over the globe, Terre des hommes is able to fight online child pornography using innovative software.
Bong Arquiza, communications and advocacy officer of Terre des Hommes, shares to Sun Star, “Sweetie 2.0 will definitely be compliant with legal standards, locally and overseas. Much as we believe that a free and open source internet should be in place, the internet does not have to be lawless. Sweetie may be controversial but this innovation is very crucial and essential especially for the Filipino children.”
Arquiza added, “webcam child sex tourism is normally the precursor of child trafficking as these pedophiles would eventually come to the country to meet the victims.”
The Philippine Country Office of Terre des Hommes has started an online petition to push the Philippine government to take a stand against webcam child sex tourism to condemn this publicly and to vehemently refuse to tolerate it.
Campus caravans across the country are also being conducted to raise awareness and to further protect Filipino children from falling victim to sexual violence.
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