INTERPOL has been handed a dossier containing the names of suspected Irish paedophiles who attempted to pay children to perform sexual acts on web cameras.
A sting operation by a Dutch children’s rights charity Terres Des Hommes led to over 1,000 suspected paedophiles being identified in 65 countries, including Ireland.
These were people tricked into believing they were engaged in online conversations with a 10-year-old girl called Sweetie from the Philippines.
All of the computer users offered payment to the girl for her to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam.
However, they were in fact conversing with a team of researchers.
A sophisticated computer programme, which generated lifelike pictures of a virtual girl, was used to convince the suspected paedophiles they were dealing with a minor.
The researchers were able to gather details during the online conversations to establish the identities of many of those they were dealing with.
Video footage of the child predators, which they freely shared with Sweetie, was also gathered.
A dossier including the names and footage of the suspected paedophiles was handed over to Interpol today and relevant sections are now expected to be passed to police forces around the world, including the gardai.
The charity said the sexual exploitation of children using webcams was becoming increasingly common.
Spokesman Hans Guijt said the practice was a largely unknown, but quickly spreading new form of child exploitation that has got tens of thousands of victims involved in the Philippines alone.
By Shane Phelan
Public Affairs Editor