"Sweetie" virtual child takes down 1000 pedophiles in 10 weeks

Technology is directly involved in our daily lives, making it more convenient, more efficient, and more entertaining. There's another side to technological advances that we don't see on the daily, however, and it is arguably the most important of them all — the ability to prevent crimes that otherwise would slip under the radar. Such is the case with "Sweetie," a virtual 10-year-old girl created to lure in pedophiles who are subsequently identified and handed over to law enforcement.

The virtual model was created by activists and is run by four individuals under the Terre des Hommes in the Netherlands, where pedophiles seeking children for explicit webcam sessions are lured in. In order to maintain cover on these websites, the activists use Sweetie on camera to maintain the illusion that the predators are speaking to a living child, something possible due to the realistic design of the model.

As a result of their efforts, these four individuals managed to identify 1,000 pedophiles over the course of ten weeks, having provided their information to Interpol. This represents only a very small percentage of the number of predators who attempt to solicit Sweetie, which came in at a much higher 20,000+ across 71 countries. Because of the high volume of solicitations, the four individuals could only proceed on identifying about 5-percent.

Of the 1,000 individuals identified, it is said all but one of them were male, with 110 hailing from Britain and 254 from the United States, while the rest were from other locations in smaller numbers. In addition to their efforts, the activists behind Sweetie are also holding a petition on getting law enforcement to proactively seek out pedophiles online. Sadly enough, before this initiative, the activists said only six charges against pedophiles for webcam-related activities were found.

SOURCE: Mashable