On Wednesday 10th March, 2021, Czech public service television broadcast a TV premiere of a shocking feature documentary entitled Caught in the Net (2020),
directed by the well-known film maker Vít Klusák and radio journalist Barbora
Chalupová. The film highlighted a serious problem of online sexual
grooming of under-age girls and boys by a large number of men
in the Czech Republic.
The parents of 60 per cent of Czech children do not limit the amount of time their children are free to spend online.
41 per cent of Czech children have confirmed that they have received pornographic images via the internet.
50 per cent of Czech children chat online with strangers.
The film Caught In the Net has
carried out an experiment. Its producers published an advertisment for
grown-up women who look under-age, actresses, who would be willing to
pretend that they were 12 years of age and who would be willing, under
the watchful eyes of film cameras, to create their own profiles on social networks and to wait to be contacted by members of the public.
During the casting procedure, the production team interviewed 23 young actresses. Of these, 19 (!!) told the film makers that when they were around 12, they were subject to online sexual abuse.
The producers selected three under-age looking girls and the filming started. The experiment lasted 10 days. During this time, the three "12-year-old" girls were contacted by 2458 men of all ages who were trying sexually to manipulate them. Those men that the girls actually came to talk to online were insisting that the girls strip naked in front of the laptop cameras, the men sent them pornographic videos, showed them close-ups of their erect penises and masturbated in front of them. at the beginning of the conversations, the girls told all the men they were about to talk to that they were only 12 years of age and asked them whether they minded. None of them minded that they were seriously under-age.
The ongoing experiment was followed by psychologists, child abuse specialists, criminologists and lawyers. The child abuse specialists explained that of all these men, only some 3-5 per cent are actually paedophiles. All the others are men who have been for some reason unsuccessful in finding a female partner, so they abuse underage girls online for their sexual gratification.
It became evident that this is a massive problem and that a whole generation of young children is being traumatised while no one is doing anything against it. Although the film featured only girls, the film makers pointed out that underage boys are also victims of this abuse.
A lawyer on the team explained that the grooming predators were actually committing a large amount of fairly serious criminal offences for which they should be in prison. He also pointed out that the internet providers of access to the social networks should be vetting their spaces for pornographic and other abusive material and should be instantly removing it. Nothing like that happens, on the contrary, the owners of the social networks are interested in clickbaits only and are raking in profits using advertising on these sites which heavily rely on the sexual exploitation of minors.
Yet again the social infrastructure of the Czech state has proven to be ineffectual. Why is the Czech government not telling the owners of the social networks that unless they IMMEDIATELY block sexual grooming on their websites, their social networks will be blocked in the country?
The abuse is taking place on the social networks Facebook, Skype, Lide.cz, Snapchat and Omegle.