A fee would be negotiated and then paid via Western Union.
A pimp or someone else over 18 went to collect the money, and the show would begin.
Remember: don’t fall into the trap of only looking at pictures and thinking from your gut.
The girl would nod complacently, adjusting her webcam and typing out responses while, thousands of miles away, Hansen negotiated her purchase for a few dollars an hour.
But Hansen would never see the girl, for there was no need for her to appear: he had already been caught. As the director of projects for the Dutch arm of the children’s welfare organization Terre des Hommes, he’d been visiting the Philippines for years, working to solve its rampant child prostitution problem.
Usually one or two girls would hold a towel as a makeshift screen in front of which another would take off her clothes and “perform” for the camera.
While some children made contact on their own, others were sold by pimps through so-called “cyber sex dens” and still others were offered up for sale by their own parents.
Sitting alone in front of a computer screen in his home not far from Brisbane, the single 36-year-old logged into a chat room and typed in the username “2 cam with kid.” Then he clicked “Kids Chat.” That’s when her username appeared: “9 f philippines.” Hansen knew that in the shady online networks he frequented, those letters could signify only one thing: a nine-year-old girl from the Philippines.
Heart pounding, he typed: “Wanna chat or cam with older?
Hansen called her from his personal account, where his name, photograph and location were listed.
“I with me sister she is 8,” typed the Filipino girl.
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Terre des Hommes had been fighting to protect vulnerable children for decades through its branches across Europe and Canada.