What you don’t know about this face may shock you

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An Australian man is believed to be the first convicted as the result of an online sex sting centered around a virtual girl.

“My name is Sweetie. I’m 10-years-old, I live in the Philippines. Every day, I have to sit in front of the webcam and talk to men. As soon as I go online, they come to me. Ten, hundred, every hour. So many.”

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.

“The men ask me to take off my clothes. They undress.”

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 two years in prison by a court in Brisbane for charges unrelated to 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.

“What they don’t know – I’m not real. I’m a computer model, made piece by piece to track down these men who do this.”

She is the digital creation of Dutch NGO Terre Des Hommes. They use her avatar to pose on internet chat rooms, bating men who go online to prey on young children. In 10 weeks, the charity says some 20,000 men contacted Sweetie – with 1,000 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.”

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. In most countries there is a huge legal problem because in many countries – it’s not even allowed – police doesn’t even have a mandate to carry out say undercover or sting operations. We have to allow the police to carry out further investigation, to be much more active and have an active presence on the internet. You have to find another way to deal with this problem in an effective and efficient manner.

In 10 weeks the charity says some 200,000 men have contacted Sweetie from 71 countries.

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