Fake online child was contacted by over 150 men
A fake profile pretending to be a 14-year-old girl got more than 150 messages from older men in only three months. A majority of the messages contained sexual advances and harassment, reports Swedish Television News.
The profile was put up on an internet chatroom called Kamrat, or friend, by three reporters from Swedish Television News. The site has approximately 400,000 users and is targeted towards people who want to make new friends online.
The reporters pretended to be a 14-year-old girl named Sara to find out what it's like to be a teenager online, says Göran Eklund who coordinated the investigative reports at SVT.
"We wanted to find out what their reality is like and saw very quickly that many men tried to contact this fake girl. 15 percent of them immediately sent sexually explicit messages," Eklund tells Radio Sweden.
Roughly 70 percent out of the 224 people who visited the fake profile were grown men. Two of them were recently convicted sex offenders, one of which wanted to video chat with 14-year-old "Sara" only ten days after he had been convicted for having paid two underage girls for oral sex.
"I want to see your body. I'll give you as much as SEK 5,000 but it has to be tonight. You're a coward if you don't write me back," writes one. Other messages read: "Do you touch yourself?", "I think you ought to show me how good you are at sucking" and "What's your bra size".
The owner of the site, Tobias Lind, tells SVT that they have a fairly large number of fake accounts and says that they are considering age restrictions on the site so that children under the age of 15 won't be allowed to register.
"An age limit wouldn't affect most of our users and would hopefully get rid off the worst perverts," he says.
When SVT contacted one of the men who had written explicit messages to the fake profile, he said that he wasn't himself at the time.
"I was feeling lonely and I wasn't in my right mind," the 35-year-old man said.
Grooming, the act of trying to get children to meet up for sex, is illegal in Sweden, so is writing sexual advances to children or in other ways harassing someone online, but few cases ever lead to a conviction. Ulrika Hammarin at the police's computer forensics unit tells Swedish Radio News that internet crimes against children often pile up because they are not as prioritised as more serious offenses.
"It's not like don't investigate these cases, we do our best, but we just don't have the resources to go through the evidence as quickly as we would like and the cases keep getting moved to the bottom of the pile," Hammarin says.
Ulrika Hammarin adds that they often have to go through hundreds of thousands of pictures for each case.
A government appointed committee is expected to present new proposals to improve the current sex crime legislation sometime next year, according to Swedish Radio News.