Link between online and actual sex abuse

BBC reporter Angus Crawford, who travelled to the Philippines 2 years ago when the “Sweetie” story first hit the headlines in 2013, reflects on the facts surrounding the recent arrest of a British man, Trevor Monk. Monk first used live streaming from his home in the UK to pay children in the Philippines for webcam sex and then later travelled there himself to abuse children thus establishing a link between “watching” abusive images and actually committing the crime in person.

The 47 year-old Trevor Monk from Erith, London transferred up to £14,000, paid out in amounts as small as £15, via Western Union over a four- year period to “facilitators” or pimps in exchange for watching children perform live sex acts before a webcam. Monk later travelled to the Philippines where he is known to have sexually abused at least nine young girls in person. According to Crawford “Monk's case is significant because it shows that though his crimes began in the UK, using live streaming, they then led to him travelling to carry out "contact abuse" in the Philippines with the internet facilitating an escalation to his offending.”

Co-operation between 4 national police forces led to the arrest of Monk and it is clear that this practice of cross-border co-operation between law enforcement agencies is the only way to tackle this crime effectively. In the UK, Operation Endeavour involves the National Crime Agency co-operating with Australian and US police and has up to date led to 29 international arrests.

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