The Hague, 22nd October 2014 – An Australian man was sentenced on Tuesday October 21, to one year in prison for initiating and maintaining indecent chat conversations with Sweetie, the virtual minor girl developed by Terre des Hommes Netherlands in 2013 to denounce the rapidly growing threat of Webcam Child Sex Tourism.

“This is a major breakthrough in the fight against this form of child exploitation,” said Hans Guijt, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, project leader of the Sweetie campaign.

We are pleased with this great result, as the judge considered that the offense was similar to what could have been made against a real child”, declared Raffaele Salinari, president of Terre des Hommes International Federation.

During ten weeks in 2013 a team of Terre des Hommes researchers frequented dozens of chat rooms under the profile of minor children, including that of a nine-year-old Filipino girl named Sweetie. Tens of thousands of men sought contact with her, most of them with sexual intentions. The team was able to identify by name and personal details one thousand people from 72 countries.

This information and the chat logs were transferred to Europol which then shared this information with police authorities in the countries concerned. This led to a number of arrests, including that of a man from Brisbane, Australia.

Press Dossier

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Media contacts

Hans Guijt
Head Special Programs & Campaigns
T: +31 (0)70 310 50 33

Liz van Velzen
Press Officer / Communication Officer
M: +31 (0)6 18220452
T: +31 (0)70 3105022