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German jailed for livestream child sex abuse

Alistair Walsh with dpa, Reuters
April 10, 2018

In one of Germany's first major prosecutions for webcam sex abuse, a man has been handed a hefty sentence. It comes after the Philippines called on wealthy countries to help crack down on the problem.

Filipino grade school children play with their computers inside their house in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Sabangan

A German man was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on Tuesday for paying to watch children being abused via webcam.

Prosecutors said livestream sex abuse cases are becoming increasingly prevalent while the Philippines has called on other countries to impose tougher sentences on such offenders.

Read more: The Philippines' booming cybersex industry

Webcam Child Sex Tourism on the rise

Details of the case

  • Across two years, Martin R., 48, watched a woman abuse her young children as he gave instructions.
  • He transferred more than €10,000 ($12,300), of which €3,000 was specifically payment for abuse.
  • At the start of the abuse, the three children involved were two girls, aged 4 and 8, and a boy, aged 7.
  • He admitted the abuse at the start of the trial and apologized.
  • The prosecutors' evidence included 120 pages of chat logs, as well as pictures and videos.

Read more: Alphabay and Hansa darknet markets shut down after international police operation

Child prostitution in the Philippines

‘Considerable effort'

As quoted by newsweekly Der Spiegel, Judge Jürgen Zenkel told the court that in the past "it took considerable effort" to engage in child sex tourism, but now the internet had "made it easy" and "the risk of discovery is not high either." 

The man can only be identified under German reporting laws as Martin R. His lawyer, Axel Reiter, argued that a sentence of four years and eight months was sufficient given his client had shown remorse. He said the main culprit was the mother.

Read more: Australia to ban pedophiles from overseas travel under 'world first' laws

Major breakthrough: The ruling is one of the first major prosecutions for this sort of case in Germany.

A growing trend: The Philippines has become the epicenter of cybersex trafficking, according to organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund. Manila receives at least 3,000 reports per month from other countries of possible cases according to the Department of Justice.

International support: The Philippines has called on other countries to impose tough sentences on offenders to help it crack down on the trend.

No appeal: The defendant's lawyer said he is unlikely to appeal the sentence.

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