Thousands of paedophiles have been caught offering cash for a child to perform sex acts online in an undercover sting.
More than 20,000 perverts were lured out when an anti-abuse group created a computer-generated ten-year-old Filipina girl called Sweetie to visit chatrooms.
She was bombarded with offers of money to perform sex acts on a webcam and the researchers managed to identify 999 men and one woman involved. They included 254 from the US and 110 from Britain.
Dutch charity Terre des Hommes, which carried out the exercise, called for politicians worldwide to impose tougher laws and for police to be empowered to enforce them.
Project director Hans Guyt said: ‘If we don’t intervene soon, this sinister phenomenon will totally run out of control. The child predators doing this now feel that the law doesn’t apply to them.’
Details of the 1,000 people it managed to identify were sent to Interpol.
However, police will only be able to prosecute the suspects if they gather their own evidence.
Mr Guyt said: ‘The biggest problem is that the police don’t take action until child victims file reports but children almost never report these crimes.’
UN figures suggest up to 750,000 paedophiles are online at any one time and 2million children are embroiled in prostitution.