Thai cybersex traffickers target boys from wealthy families and blackmail them by pretending to be girls
According to the deputy. head of a child sexual abuse task force, Thai cybersex traffickers target and often lure teenage boys from rich backgrounds by posing as young girls.
Colonel Kornchai Klayklueng, a police officer, said the victims were persuaded to film or photograph themselves masturbating, then said the footage would be leaked to their friends and families unless they keep them from videos and/or photos to provide.
Some victims have been identified by their school uniform while attending well-known private schools, said Klayklueng, the colonel of the police-run Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) task force in Thailand.
“Most of them [the victims] are sons of the wealthy who have cell phones and are active on social media but are not closely watched by their wealthy parents who don’t make enough time for them,” he said.
“Ultimately, the boys become victims of human trafficking, unaware that their sexual acts are seen by people all over the world.”
The growth of the Internet and increased use of personal technology devices fueled crime, the Colonel went on to say.
Launched by the Royal Thai Police in January 2016, TICAC works closely with local non-governmental organizations to track down perpetrators and their victims.
It was established a month after the Thai government passed a law imposing more severe punishments on child pornography owners who previously had no jail time. Anyone caught in possession of child pornography for personal entertainment can face a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of 100,000 baht.
“They think they are talking to girls who send them photos or videos and are being challenged to do the same,” said Ketsanee Chantrakul, a program manager at ECPAT Foundation, a Bangkok-based group fighting against the sexual exploitation of children.
“Unlike girls, boys are less careful and don’t think sending videos is harmful.”
However, no data is available on the number of underage victims of cybersex trafficking. But an index from the Walk Free Foundation, a human rights organization, estimates that at least 610,000 people in Thailand – or about one in 113 – are trapped in modern-day slavery. Since its inception four years ago, TICAC has investigated 151 cases of Internet-facilitated sexual exploitation, 44 of which are related to human trafficking.
The remainder is related to child sexual abuse and child pornography.
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