Women’s welfare groups called for an Internet real-name system to boost cyber security and curb what they describe as a rampant online child sex trade.
Accompanied by a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker, representatives of the groups told a press conference how sex trade rings lure girls into prostitution through online chat services and chat rooms.
“There are hundreds of these chat rooms online and they are not censored by the government,” said Kang Shu-hua (康淑華), the executive director of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation.
Anyone could access these chat rooms because the mechanism used to restrict people by age is easy to bypass, Kang said. Although Internet users need to confirm they older than 18 to enter the sites, there is nobody to supervise the mechanism, she said.
Online brokers, therefore, can easily offer teenage female netizens attractive pay — about NT$1,100 per hour — for sex work and get them addicted to drugs like ketamine and ecstasy, she said.
Huang Shu-hua (黃淑華), a social worker specializing in counseling teenage girls involved in the Internet sex trade, said the situation has reached an alarming level and it could cause serious damage to both the mental and physical development of children.
Drug addiction often leads to memory loss, emotional distress and auditory hallucination, while girls suffering from drug and sex abuse have a tendency to have low self-esteem and self-harm, Huang said.
DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) said law enforcement authorities should learn from South Korea and promote the use of real names on the Internet to prevent such sex crimes from happening.
A comprehensive real-name system should include requiring users to provide a name and the Web site to have a mechanism that confirms the authenticity of the information, the lawmaker said.
The Child and Youth Sexual Transaction Prevention Act (兒童及少年性交易防制條例) states that those who try to involve a minor in the sex trade could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.