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UK: Children 'sold for sex on Net'

Publish Date: 10 Feb 2004

Daily Mail 

A sickening trade in child pornography on the Internet has been revealed in a report today.

Youngsters are being sold for sex on the web and then rated out of ten by paedophiles, it says.

Some have been put up for sale by relatives and friends who advertise them online with indecent photographs taken in their own homes, according to the children's charity Barnardo's.

It says pre-pubescent boys and girls are also being lured into taking part in live sex shows on the Net, which perverts pay to watch.

In a survey of children it has already dealt with, Barnardo's identified 83 who were sexually abused through the Net and mobile phones. Of those, seven were sold online to paedophiles and one was abused live on the web.

The charity says new mobile technology could lead to many more children being abused through the Net.

It adds: "It will increase opportunities for young people to communicate and access websites and other Internet services away from the supervision of their carers.

"Over the last 18 months, we have become aware that children are being advertised or sold for sex via chatrooms and bulletin boards on the Internet.

"Not only are children being pimped in this way, but these sites also inform the enquirer of 'how good a purchase' the child is by rating them from one to ten."

Message boards allowed paedophiles to list where children for sale could be found, along with a description or photograph, what sex acts they performed and how much a pimp charged, said the report.

Barnardo's identified one 14-year-old girl whose picture was placed on such a website by an older man who groomed her for prostitution.

"She knew nothing about the site or the fact that her photograph had appeared on it, but because of the site she could be easily identified by other sex offenders."

Another case involved a 13-year-old girl who "met" what she thought was a boy of 13 in a chatroom.

After several weeks of e-mailing they agreed to meet and she took along a 16-year-old friend. The man they met was in his twenties. He got them drunk and took the girls to a house where he gave them money and coerced them into having sex with him and each other.

The report says: "It was only after they completed the act that the tipsy girls noticed a red camera light flickering. They realised they had been filmed by a webcam and everything they had done had been beamed out live across the Net.

"They made a grab for the camera, but the man just laughed and threw money at them. They must live with the knowledge that their image will remain on the Net forever."

The report concluded: "The selling of youngsters online for live sex abuse is a highly-calculated and planned activity.

"In general, the perpetrator announces to his group of online peers he intends to abuse a child on a set date and time.

"Those who wish to watch arrange with the active abuser to be online.

"Evidence is emerging that children, sometimes very young, are being abused in this way by family members, friends of the family and trusted adults such as teachers or youth leaders."

The UK had the biggest increase in Europe in the number of children with access to the Internet over the last three years, says the report.

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©2004 Associated New Media