Once again a terrible demonstration by law enforcement and other agencies of the sheer volume of people interested in sexual activity with children.

The ‘sting’ organised by the Dutch authorities using an avatar called Sweetie – a representation of a 10 year old Filipino girl has drawn apparently 20,000 hits from men across the world in 2 months. 1,000 of which are being pursued for prosecution. Couple this with the announcement of further arrests after the break-up of a live stream internet crime where children in the Philippines were filmed having sex for the benefit of anybody who would subscribe. The reports around this suggest that it is endemic among poor families and others throughout the Philippines.

Several things occurred to me. Firstly the terrible sense of repetition as in the 90’s I was heavily committed to combatting sex tourism and put lots of effort with others into the creation of the 1997 Sex Offences Act allowing British people to be prosecuted for offences committed abroad. This, by the way, has be one of the most under used pieces of legislation ever created in Britain compared to our fellow industrialised countries. That is shameful. Secondly, whereas law enforcement may be getting better at detection and capture criminals, I’m not sure that we’re making great advances on the identification of victims. It just seems that the other side of all these arrests and ‘sting’ operations is the lack of advancement – either technologically or otherwise – I the identification of victims and survivors. You can’t help thinking that numbers of survivors are being added to in their thousands, which in its self is an enormous burden for the societies they live in, as well as obviously for them as individual victims. Perhaps one day, as in the Science Fiction film Blade Runner, technology will create sophisticated ways of the identifications of victims from photographic images.

Until then and also until ways are discovered for families in extreme poverty to stop selling their children a horrible truth is that the sheer volume of the problem is unlikely to become any better than the status quo.

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