Canadian police force representatives visit Sweetie HQ
On the 25th and 26th of May, a delegation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) visited the Terre des Hommes office in The Hague, Netherlands to receive a detailed briefing on the Sweetie project. Experts from the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) met with the Sweetie team and with the technicians from Dutch company Tracks Inspector who are developing the Sweetie 2.0 software. The Canadians witnessed a demonstration of the Sweetie “chatbot” which is capable of maintaining hundreds of conversations in public chatrooms simultaneously. On the second day a team of forensic psychologists from Tilburg University under the supervision of Professor Stefan Bogaerts gave a presentation of their views on the link between downloading child pornography and “hands-on” child sexual abuse. According to studies conducted by Prof. Bogaerts, the number of individuals moving from watching child porn to sexual abuse could be as high as 25 or 30% - which would justify early intervention to stop this transition. Tilburg University will develop an “impact tool” to be able to measure if early intervention by discouraging and warning potential child sex offenders will have the desired effect.
Legal experts from Leiden University presented some preliminary findings of their research project on the international framework for tackling webcam child sex tourism or live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Experts from 20 countries participate in this project which will also cover issues such as entrapment in undercover operations as well as privacy considerations.
The RCMP delegation concluded their trip with a meeting at EUROPOL and a visit to the Amsterdam-based company MOTEK, specialists in “motion capture” , who have been commissioned to develop avatars - “digital children” - for the Sweetie project.
They were “suitably impressed” and their much valued comments, observations and suggestions will be fully taken into account.