Say what you saw

“It sounds simple, but it works: when I want to have a good time, I always bring chocolate to the kids and give it to them before I get started.”

This “tip” was found in a handbook for pedophiles that was spread on the Dark Web, the part of the internet that cannot be reached via search engines. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of children are sexually abused by traveling offenders every year. Only a fraction are ever convicted for their crimes – we have no idea how many get away with it.

In 2018, Childhood, with support from the Swedish Postcode Lottery, launched a new initiative to reduce the opportunities for Swedish offenders to abuse children in foreign countries. The Säg vad du såg (“Say what you saw”) project is conducted together with Ecpat, the Swedish Police and the Swedish Gender Equality Agency. “Usually, we work directly with children and families to reduce the risk of violence and abuse. But we also need to focus on the offenders: those who travel to sexually abuse children. As offenders change their travel patterns and methods, our initiatives also need to be updated. In this project, we are doing exactly that,” says Joel Borgström, program manager at Childhood and project head for Say what you saw.