Child pornography on demand explodes through Skype and social media

  • Two men were asking children to perform pornographic acts on webcam.
  • They were paying parents around thirty dollars.

Two Belgian pedophiles were arrested on Belgian soil. While these aren’t the most recent crimes, the federal police confirming the facts want to draw attention to the methods of their operations. These developing methods involve new technologies and social media.

According to the police, an increasing number of pedophiles are ordering and recording child pornographic acts in front of webcams. Their victims live in Asia. They select a child and pay his or her parents to make him or her perform many acts. Both Belgians used Skype. They contact Asian parents that they have met during their travels. For about thirty euros, which can sometimes be a month’s wages for a worker in Cambodia or Vietnam, they ask the parents to get their children to perform pornographic acts in front of a webcam for about thirty minutes.

Hard to catch

Police throughout Europe are trying to isolate this phenomenon. Previously, pedophiles would trade movies or files. These left evidence behind, but in the case of a simple communication, that’s no longer the case. “It’s not easy,” admits Peter De Waele, the federal police representative. “Everyone uses a phone or Skype to communicate, especially while on vacation abroad. Legally and technically we can’t listen to all communications by Belgians or watch what they do on their computers. In the same sense, anyone using Western Union for banking transactions is not necessarily using it for pedophilia. We need evidence. These pedophiles can remain under the radar for a long time, since they leave few tracks.”

In this particular case, the two men who didn’t know each other were questioned regarding non-pedophilia activities. During their investigation, the police were able to access their computers. “We were lucky,” continues De Waele, “they happened to be collectors. Since they paid for them, they saved images of the children to keep as ‘souvenirs’ and to replay them.” On Friday, following 38 police searches around the country, Spanish police announced that they had arrested 18 people for possession and distribution of pedophilia videos showing adults sexually abusing four and six year old children. 

“Europol sounded the alarm in a recent report stating that ‘child pornography on demand’ was growing at a worrisome rate and was becoming more and more extreme.” These crimes are mainly committed by Americans, Russians and to a lesser degree, western Europeans.

FRÉDÉRIC DELEPIERRE

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