O.k. maybe this isn’t exactly the movie “Hard Candy” turned real, but it is something that Hayley would be proud of. In order to combat the numerous sexual predators that exist in our world, a team of activists have created a computer generated 10 year old girl to assist them in their quest. The activist organization, Terre des Hommes, used their creation named Sweetie as bait to track numerous sexual predators across the globe by simply visiting numerous chat rooms and seeing what happens. Apparently, Sweetie was quite popular:
Her video chat partners thought they were talking to a Filipina minor, but in fact they were communicating with a team in a warehouse in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, who were recording everything and looking for clues to their identity.
“In 10 weeks, we traced 1,000 men from all over the world who were willing to pay Sweetie to perform sexual acts in front of the webcam,” said Albert Jaap van Santbrink, director of Terre des Hommes Netherlands.
Of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, Sweetie is out of commission, but the organization has provided the authorities with their technology and records to continue the fight against sexual predators. It makes me wonder how Hayley is continuing her fight for those who have been sexually abused. The movie is purposefully ambiguous on that regard as we get no glimpse into what her future holds, but something tells me Hayley is not the drift off into the sunset type.
These two stories remind me of Laura Mulvey’s description of scopophilia; the point where looking is simply pleasurable in itself. In “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” she writes:
At the extreme, it can become fixated into a perversion, producing obsessive voyeurs and Peeping Toms whose only sexual satisfaction can come from watching, in an active controlling sense, an objectified other.
Her description fit these sexual predators perfectly as they hide behind computer screens tempting children to perform for their gaze. Hopefully, the work of Terre des Hommes will effectively help catch these predators in order to make the Hayleys and Sweeties of this world no longer necessary.
- CNN News video on Sweetie
- This Is ‘Sweetie’, The Virtual Little Girl Who Has Helped Catch Over 1,000 Sexual Predators Online (embargozone.com)
- How ‘Sweetie’ Tracked Down 1.000 Pedophiles (viralblog.com)