Webcam sex bust reveals an epidemic of new forms of child sexual exploitation online.
- Vile images, grim footage of hellhole where children sexually abused for online live-streaming
- Caught red-handed streaming illicit content
- Computers with images and videos of young boys and girls engaged in sex acts
- At any given moment, 750,000 child predators online
The Associated Press watched a raid of a cybersex den, the rescue of exploited children and the launch of a major investigation into the relatively new crime of webcam sex tourism carried out by the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Vile images and grim footage have just emerged of the hellhole where children were sexually abused as directed by perverts through online live-streaming services to feed their sick fantasies.
The raid began just before dawn, as seven vanloads of police, investigators, lawyers and social workers rolled out of Manila into a town that was once a large US military base, now a major red light district.
The AP Exclusive reported that 53-year-old David Timothy Deakin saw people banging on his front door through his security cameras. One of them had the letters ‘NBI’ on her jacket. He googled on his laptop “What is NBI?” even as the raid team smashed their way into his cybersex den.
Deakin was caught red-handed streaming illicit content through the anonymous Tor network, which disguised his identity. Agents said he had a web page open to wipe his phone clean. They tied him up with the first thing they could grab – an iPhone charging cord – before he could hit the button.
Deakin asked, “Why is everyone asking about children coming into my house?” He was bare-chested and sweaty, his breath was sour and glasses foggy.
The two-bedroom townhouse was cluttered with children’s underwear, toddler shoes, bondage cuffs, fetish ropes, meth pipes, cameras, routers and stacks of hard drives.
Food wrappers, plastic cups, cigarette butts and perfume spread across Deakin’s workspace. His refrigerator was near empty. Stacks of used egg cartons from the shelves and a half-eaten pot of cold rice sat on the stove.
A pencilled scrawl on the wall read ‘My Mom and Dad love me.’
On Deakin’s computer were images and videos of young boys and girls engaged in sex acts.
AP and investigators asked him repeatedly why he had the obscene images stored on his computer.
He claimed the images and videos may have slipped in when he downloaded massive files using BitTorrent.
“There were no children in front of the cam in my house, not even dressed, as far as I know, not even with their frigging mothers as far as I know,” he said.
He told AP he didn’t make videos of children.
Hours after his arrest, wrists tied behind his back, Deakin grew nervous.
“I don’t even know what you’re frigging doing here!” he yelled.
Authorities are reviewing about 30 hard drives, as well as numerous computers, to find suspected buyers and victims. His Cheery Mobile Touch HD tablet, which can be wiped clean and reset with a four-digit code, had more than 4,000 contacts. One computer had another 13 networked into it, from servers he said were around the world.
Records in Deakin’s house included debit cards for money transfer services, including Smart Money and Payoneer.
Deakin has been charged with cybercrime, child pornography, child abuse and child trafficking.
Apparently, neighbours who gathered to watch the raid knew something was wrong in Deakin’s house.
“No, no, not drugs,” said a man who rolled up on a bike. “Computers. Sex. Children.”
Josue Santos, who patrols the neighbourhood on foot, said he saw three boys and four girls going into Deakin’s home one evening several months ago.
Others nodded. Bessie Geronimo, across the street, also said she had seen children going in and out. Now, she wondered, could she have intervened?
A housekeeper had filed a complaint against Deakin last year for not paying her and because she was worried about what he was doing with children in the bedroom with the door closed. Police visited his house but they had no authority for a raid.
“There are many such places,” said security officer Mike Wood.
The arrest of Deakin on Apr 20 revealed one of the darkest and creepiest corners of the Internet, where paedophiles across the globe pay facilitators in the Philippines to sexually abuse children, even babies, orchestrating their moves through online live-streaming services.
This new form of child sexual exploitation online is growing alarmingly rapidly, according to the United Nations. The FBI describes it as “epidemic” and that at any given moment, 750,000 child predators are online.
Almost every case originates from the Philippines, where good English speakers, convenient Internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems combine with rampant poverty and easy access to vulnerable kids. Recent months have seen as many as three busts a week. Most of the victims are under 12. A few weeks ago, the youngest victim ever was rescued – a two-month-old infant.
The AP report quoted NBI anti-human trafficking chief Janet Francisco, who led the case, as saying: “We will really put them in jail and they will die in jail.”
“You know what you’ve done in this room,” an investigator said to Deakin, showing him a photo of several children.
Shrugging, he said one of them was probably a few doors away with her cousin. Minutes later, two girls, 9 and 11 years old, were rescued by police.
According to the AP report, some buyers try to brush off the abuse, saying they’re not directly touching the children.
“It’s not just a virtual crime. It is an actual crime,” said human rights attorney Sam Inocencio. “Online sexual exploitation is possibly the most evil thing that I’ve seen.”
Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Deakin has been in the Philippines since 2000.
Before Deakin was taken to jail, he asked for a cigarette and to use the bathroom. He also asked for his Bible. He said he had been planning to leave town.
A day earlier. he had messaged a friend: “I’ve got to get out of here.”
Instead, the cops got him.