Swedish authorities say they are having difficulty prosecuting online paedophiles who use “Sugar Baby” websites to give children cash and gifts in exchange for sex.
Emil Eisersjö, who works at the Swedish police’s national operational department, said that online contact between adult buyers and underage sellers does not always provide sufficient evidence to launch a successful prosecution, Sveriges Radio reports.
“One man contacts someone we know is 14, and very clearly says that he wants to buy this person’s virginity. He agrees on the price and so on. At that stage, one might think that it must be a crime but it can be difficult to prosecute the person,” he said.
Eisersjö said that in cases where no physical abuse has been committed, it can be much harder to present a case to courts consisting only of text messages.
“When it comes to other types of crime, such as robbery, it happens that the police wait to be able to seize the criminals in the act. However, it is not relevant when it comes to child abuse,” he said.
Belgians Charge CEO Recruiting ‘Sugar Babies’ with ‘Incitement to Debauchery’ https://t.co/nzKpkS6LnX
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 8, 2019
For a week in mid-June, police carried out targetted operations on so-called “sugar dating” sites leading to ten pre-investigations regarding sexual abuse of minors.
Eisersjö claimed that some of those advertising on the sites were as young as 13 and police were able to find that many of them, mostly young girls, had been victims of prior abuse.
Calling the sites “a marketplace for prostitution”, Eisersjö said that he saw the behaviour of the children on the site as a form of “self-harm.”
In 2017, a manager at Sweden’s public television broadcaster SVT was arrested for attempting to buy the virginity of a 14-year-old girl on a “sugar baby” website. The unnamed man allegedly offered the teen 9,000 Swedish kronor to be the first person to have sex with her once she turned 15.
In Belgium, 47-year-old Norwegian national Sigurd Vedal, was charged with “public incitement to debauchery” earlier this year after engaging in a poster campaign encouraging young women to join his “sugar dating” website.