BRISBANE -- An Australian man is believed to be the first person convicted for trying to have online sex with a virtual girl.
Scott Robert Hansen didn't realize the ten-year-old Filipino girl he knew as "Sweetie" was really a digital creation by Dutch charity Terre Des Hommes. The organization known for combating child trafficking uses her avatar in internet chat rooms, baiting men who go online to prey on young children.
The charity says that in 10 weeks, tens of thousands of men from 72 countries contacted Sweetie. About 1,000 of those men offered her money for explicit acts.
"The men ask me to take off my clothes. They undress," Sweetie, the virtual avatar explains. "Everyday I have to sit in front of the webcam and talk to men. As soon as I go online, they come to me. Ten, hundred, every hour. So many."
The charity was launched as a campaign to end so-called "web cam tourism" where men go online to pay children from developing countries to perform sex acts.
"Most of these men that we encountered on the internet were so-called, were ordinary men, people with wives, people with families, with children, with jobs, with cars, with houses, with mortgages, with debts, you know, ordinary men," said Hans Guyt, with Terre Des Hommes.
Hansen received two years in prison in Brisbane, Australia for charges related to child sex abuse.