Dutch children’s charity Terre des Hommes has identified 1,000 adults who wanted to have webcam sex with a child in a sting operation which lasted for 2.5 months.
Posing as a non-existent child from the Philippines calling herself Sweetie who was prepared to perform sex acts online, the researchers managed to get a reaction from people in 65 countries via chatrooms.
All the would-be abusers have been identified and recorded on film, Terre des Hommes said.
The information has been passed on to Dutch investigators. Among the 1,000 suspects were 20 Dutch nationals.
The organisation says it wanted to show how easy it is for child sex abusers to look for children online.
A spokesman for the Dutch national police force said it is unclear what will be done with the information. If the charity’s action is regarded as entrapment, then legal charges will be difficult, the spokesman said.
Legal experts told Nos television it is difficult to take action against people who want to abuse a girl who does not exist.