Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Child Porn?

As I sit behind my computer staring at the screen, reading an article which caused much emotions within my very being, my mind lost in thought amidst a busy workplace. Written by Kurt Eichenwald and published on the New York Times, this article shocked the very core of my being. After receiving this link from a friend through my email, I started to read the article only to expect another case of a crazed paedophile trying to coax young children with sweets and then ending up molesting them.

No, this time the situation proved completely different or shocking. Entitled, "Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World", this article tells a story of a young boy whose life was changed with the very aspect of technology that was created to bring the world closer together. Young and innocent, this boy was entrapped in a world that I never would have imagined existed. It is in this world that kids solicit money by exposing themselves through webcams to whoever would pay them money.

Now, on an afternoon in 2000, one member of his audience sent a proposal: he would pay Justin $50 to sit bare-chested in front of his Webcam for three minutes. The man explained that Justin could receive the money instantly and helped him open an account on PayPal.com, an online payment system.

The power of money allows even the most grevious occurrences that haunt the inner most soul of any being. With that began a horrifying experience for Justin and also the beginning of his walk towards the dark path. Technology meant to help reduce work for men is now being abused for our own wicked desires. Justin's answer to that?

"I figured, I took off my shirt at the pool for nothing," he said recently. "So, I was kind of like, what's the difference?"

Justin removed his T-shirt. The men watching him oozed compliments.

So from just removing a shirt, his life continued to dwell deeper in these activities nourishing his hunger for love and acceptance as well as money. In truth, if these cases were isolated I wouldn't be this much affected but as I continue reading the article, things just really went out of hand.

The scale of Webcam child pornography is unknown, because it is new and extremely secretive. One online portal that advertises for-pay Webcam sites, many of them pornographic, lists at least 585 sites created by teenagers, internal site records show. At one computer bulletin board for adults attracted to adolescents, a review of postings over the course of a week revealed Webcam image postings of at least 98 minors.

The numbers do not lie and more of these sites are coming up because of how easy it is for a young teenager who craves for more spending cash to set one up. Its as simple as heading down to Lowyat plaza and buying the cheapest webcam around and start stripping in front of a PC connected via Streamyx.

Entry into this side of cyberspace is simplicity itself. Webcams cost as little as $20, and the number of them being used has mushroomed to 15 million, according to IDC, an industry consulting group. At the same time, instant messaging programs have become ubiquitous, and high-speed connections, allowing for rapid image transmission, are common.

Evidences shown by federal investigators reveal that several professionals such as doctors, lawyers and even teachers are culprits. Why this is terrible is that these people deal with children one way or another in their jobs thus allowing them to build communication skills with children. Using these skills, they are able to coax children and kids online to force them to strip or reveal themselves.

A $35 Asante four-port hub, which allowed for the use of multiple cameras, was bought by someone calling himself Wesley Taylor, Amazon receipts show. For $45, a fan nicknamed tuckertheboy bought a Viking memory upgrade to speed up Justin's broadcast. And then there were cameras - a $60 color Webcam by Hawking Technologies from banjo000; a $60 Intel Deluxe USB camera from boyking12; and a $150 Hewlett-Packard camera from eplayernine.

This excerpt reveal that nothing will stop these paedophiles from satisfying their lust for child porn. Because of this trend, kids will post their wish-list on an online account whereby these offenders will then purchase the necessary equipment for them.

But the scariest of things is that stuff like this is kept hidden, really well.

His mother saw little evidence of a boy in trouble. Justin's grades stayed good - mostly A's and B's, although his school attendance declined as he faked illness to spend time with his Webcam.

It is all about problems with acceptance, love and materialism. Children of young age crave for attention and there are more and more stories whereby university students sell their bodies to fund their cravings for luxury items such as designer goods and the latest gadgets.

The daily interviewed a 22-year-old student who confessed that she was willing to sell herself because she was envious of some of her friends leading extravagant lives.

“Moreover, she admitted that she and six of her friends earned about RM4,000 a month or RM250 for a weekend session,” Kosmo! said.

The student, who claimed to be from a poor family, said she started becoming a call girl when she was in her first year.

The report said what lured her into the “profession” was seeing her friends wearing branded clothes, driving cars, having mobile phones and always having cash in hand.
- The Star

If things like this continue to go on without any form of intervention, I am really concerned about what is to come, judgement? I am afraid so.

To read the full article from the New York Times, please click here.

New York Times
The Star Online