More than 100 Indians were among the 1,000 men caught trying to pay a computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina girl called Sweetie to perform sex acts online.
A Dutch children’s charity group Terre des Hommes set up a fake profile to catch online predators. In a 10-week sting carried out near Amsterdam, 20,000 men from 71 countries contacted her among whom 1,000 offered her money to take off her clothes in front of the webcam.
Of the 1,000 men, 254 were from the United States, 110 from the United Kingdom and 103 from India. The names of these alleged predators have been handed over to the Interpol.
"They were ready to pay Sweetie for sexual acts in front of her webcam," Albert Jaap van Santbrink, the rights group's head, told the media.
Terre des Hommes said it wanted to raise awareness about a largely unknown but quickly spreading new form of child exploitation known as webcam child sex tourism. It has launched a global campaign to stop “webcam sex tourism”.
Sweetie was created by the child rights group and deployed in Internet chat rooms from a remote building in Amsterdam. Within minutes she was swamped with requests.
The researchers pretended to be the girl while working undercover in a warehouse in Amsterdam. They used evidence including profiles on Skype and social media to identify the suspects, reports BBC.
The rights group has posted a documentary about its 10-week investigation on YouTube and started a petition aimed at pressing law enforcers to do more to halt such illegal sex show.
"We believe that criminal investigations using intrusive surveillance measures should be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement agencies," spokesman Soren Pedersen told the Reuters.
Image: Child rights organisation Terres des Hommes created a virtual character 'Sweetie' and posed her on Internet to catch peadophiles
Photograph: Terre des Hommes