Paedophiles are staying ahead of police by using hidden parts of the internet to seek out on-demand child abuse
Western child sex offenders are using hidden parts of the internet to solicit on-demand child abuse which is carried out in other parts of the world and then streamed live.
Paedophiles in the UK and beyond can pay for sessions where they get to watch children – often based in Eastern Asia – being abused on webcam. These sessions usually allow the perpetrator to make requests for certain types of abuse to be carried out on their behalf.
“The exploitation of the child is happening in one country but is being bought as an online service by someone in another country. It’s real-time child assault going on to order. Imagine dialling into a web conference – the same thing is happening with paedophiles,” explains Professor Alan Woodward, who co-authored a Europol report about trends in cybercrime , published this week.
BBC News UK paedophiles pay to watch webcam child sex abuse in Philippines
Live streaming of child abuse is problematic for law enforcement as it can be particularly hard to detect and investigate. This is because when you stream a video, you don’t normally store a copy of the material on your computer, unlike when you download pictures or videos.
It’s not impossible to catch these offenders, as demonstrated in January 2014 when British police helped to smash a worldwide paedophile ring that streamed child abuse live from the Philippines.
One of the key challenges is the fact that many offenders take their security very seriously, investing in encryption and other defensive methods such as disposable emails, prepaid internet access and disk-wiping tools so that they don’t get caught.
There are forums hidden from the open web where paedophiles can exchange images anonymously, promote the request of on-demand abuse and discuss how to groom and abuse children.
“Best practice on how to rape, kidnap, murder and dispose of children’s bodies are also shared openly on darknet forums and the rape of children openly discussed,” adds the report.
Offenders also share information about how to make child abuse images more difficult to trace and how to mislead law enforcement.
“These platforms encourage the normalisation of child abuse by the sharing of experience and justifications,” it says.
To combat these criminals, the report proposes developing better live data forensic capabilities as well as better educating children about the risks of speaking to strangers on-line
UK paedophiles pay to watch webcam child sex abuse in Philippines
The ‘cybersex den’ in Ibabao where abuse is said to have taken place British paedophiles are paying to watch the abuse of children in the Philippines via webcams, a BBC investigation has found.
In one case, a British man organised the sexual abuse of five children from the same family. Charities believe tens of thousands of children are victims of the trade.
Britain’s National Crime Agency will revealed how it is working with the American, Australian and Philippine police to target abusers. A BBC team travelled to the slum of Ibabao, near Cebu City in the south of the country.
Local charities call it the “epicentre” of the trade. For our own safety, we had a police escort; one of the officers carried an assault rifle. Officer Denis Comunay, who regularly patrols the slum, said: “You can get easy money from the cybersex.”
He showed us a small house, with a corrugated iron roof. It was almost empty inside apart from a dirty mattress on the floor and electric sockets hanging from the ceiling.
It was what he calls a cybersex den. “Fathers and mothers would bring their children here to show, and would get paid by the owner of the house,” he said.
He explained the property owner forced her own children to “perform” for foreigners using a webcam. Other people in the community who heard there was money to be made then brought their children too. At a house arby there were family photos on the walls, washing still hanging on the line, but it was deserted. It too was raided by police – a child of two was taken into care.
All of the neighbours said they were shocked to hear about the cases but denied they knew what was going on. A number of children were rescued after the arrest of Briton Timothy Ford. One said: “How can I know when the house is closed and I did not get inside and see what they are doing?”
But a recent survey indicated that 80 houses in the area were involved in the trade.Noemi Truya-Abarientos, who works for the Children’s Legal Bureau aiming to provide judicial help for abuse victims, said: “It has become a cottage industry.”
She blamed poverty and a breakdown in public morality for the rise in the trade, explaining that local businessmen rented out laptops and USB internet connections, so it was easy for families to start.Parents use internet chatrooms to find “clients” and receive payment through international money transfers.
They justify what they do by claiming that foreign paedophiles do not actually touch the children. Noemi said this was a myth. “The client gives the instruction to touch this and touch that.
“They even send sex toys to these children.”
In Angeles City in the north of the country there were two houses in a slum area raided in 2012 by police from the UK, the Philippines, Australia and the US, showing that law enforcement around the world is starting to tackle the problem.
The abuse took place in slum areas One neighbour said: “They arrest this person and put them in a van and they take the children away.”
Twelve children aged between five and 15 were rescued and several of their relatives were arrested. The operation followed the arrest of British man Timothy Ford, from Kettering, in Northamptonshire, the same year. He is now serving an eight-and-a-half year sentence in a UK prison.
Timothy Ford – Kettering pictured above – click this link for full conviction info
When detectives analysed his laptop, they found obscene images and records of money transfers to the parents – he had paid to watch the abuse of five of the children.
He paid as little as £13 to watch what he called “a show”. Officers found he planned to buy property in the area and set up an internet cafe.
Father Shay Cullen, who runs the Preda Foundation – a charity that rescues victims in the nearby city of Olongapo – said: “More and more parents are pushing their children to get involved in this, to make big money.
“There’s a huge growing demand and there’s a growing supply.”
In July 2013, a dangerous paedophile was jailed for seven years after police found more then 3.5 million indecent images on his computer. Thomas Owen, 33, (pictured above) of Wallasey also paid for a seven-year-old Filipino boy to be abused to order. Click this for full article on Thomas Owen
The Philippine government estimates that between 60,000 and 100,000 children are victims of sexual exploitation, many of them in cybersex. While some children are forced to take part by their own family, others are made to work in cybersex dens by pimps. This is what happened to Lani when she was 15. “The cybersex den is an evil kind of profession,” she told us. Her aunt promised her a job as a nanny, but when she got to the house she was told she had to “chat” to foreigners. The “chat” soon turned into demands for her to take off her clothes and “perform” for the men watching on the webcam.
“Perhaps when people hear about cybersex they think it doesn’t have any physical effect,” she said.
“But it can do things to your core. It can take things from you, your dignity and your purity.”
Father Cullen warns that men in the West who pay to watch abuse in poor countries may go on to commit other offences.
“It’s the warm-up for a sexual assault on a child,” he said. “And next time it’s going to be a child in the UK.”
September 2014 – A paedophile who “arranged for the rape and sexual assault” of girls as young as three – and took payments from a sick internet audience – has been told by top judges that his “severe” 14-year jail term was not a day too long.
Michael Francis Eller, 68, (pictured above) used a Skype link to “direct” adults in the Philippines to rape and abuse girls, aged from three to 12, on camera. He took money through Paypal from twisted online perverts who wanted to view the children’s violation. Click this for more info on Eller case
Computer-generated ‘Sweetie’ catches on-line predators