Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Report Reveals 'Children for Sale' Shame

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Report Reveals 'Children for Sale' Shame

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Underwood

A Paedophile secretly recorded sex sessions with a 14-year-old Teesside girl then tried to sell her to perverts on the Internet, it was revealed today.

Children's charity Barnardo's made the shocking revelation ahead of a major conference in London.

The teenager, who is now 16 and cannot be identified, was groomed into prostitution by the man who advertised her "services" on a child porn website specially set up for paedophiles.

The teenager's horrifying ordeal is detailed in the charity's Just One Click report, which calls on the Government to introduce tougher policing of the Internet.

Barnardo's warns that advanced video and camera phone technology could lead to many more children being abused through the Internet.

Wendy Shepherd, of Barnardo's Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Streets (SECOS) project on Teesside, said: "The girl didn't realise he was advertising her online. She thought he genuinely loved her.

"He was much older and flattered her with presents and attention. Before long, he was grooming her for abuse through prostitution.

"The young girl's image was placed on a website - essentially created to advertise under-age girls."

The youngster managed to escape further abuse when Barnardo's and police were tipped off and intervened.

But Mrs Shepherd said the website that featured the teenager held much darker, disturbing information.

"Abusers and paedophiles were using the site's message board to list where children for sale could be located, give a visual description or photograph of them, describe what sexual acts they were prepared to do and how much their pimp charged for each act.

"Finally, there was an opportunity for the men who abused these children to mark their performance out of ten."

Barnardo's said the girl knew nothing about the site, or that her photograph had appeared on it, but she was now at risk because other sexual predators would be able to recognise her.

Mrs Shepherd said the site was closed down by Cleveland Police, but within days another had sprung up featuring the same pictures of abused children. …

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