Southeast Asia is in the grip of a fresh surge of paedophile activity with predators orchestrating and watching abuse on live-streaming sites and via webcams, and paying for it with near-untraceable cryptocurrency, victims and children's charities warn.
With widespread poverty, lax laws, and creaking judicial systems, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines have long been seen as soft spots by foreign and local paedophiles seeking out underage sex in person.
Paedophiles can now use an array of mobile and online tools -- including social networks, video-sharing sites, and the dark web -- to direct and watch child rape and sexual abuse with anonymity, experts warn.
"Predators watch the rapes on large platforms that are not likely to close," said Francois Xavier Souchet, of Thai-based NGO Terre des Hommes.
"It's live, nothing is recorded... everything is encrypted. They pay more and more in Bitcoins, encrypted money makes their transactions as secure as possible," he added.
This week online giants including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which is being held in London and will look at how to prevent online sex crimes as part of its remit.
Cassie, a Filipina victim, said she was just 12 when she was forced to commit sexual acts -- both with an adult man and alone -- in front of a webcam.
She said "I felt trapped, betrayed and alone. I was thinking, 'I want to die, I want to die because of this pain, but I can't'." Her abuser received a two year jail term in 2017.
Last month, advocacy and legal aid group International Justice Mission (IJM) warned Philippine children were at risk of being forced into live streamed sex abuse, where paedophiles pay to direct so-called "shows" online.
"Easy access to the web and money transfer services make the country a global hotspot for this problem," said IJM, noting that it is often parents or family members that organise or even commit the abuse.
Terre des Hommes drew attention to the problem using a computer-generated girl nicknamed "Sweetie" that hung out in chatrooms and was approached by about 20,000 people -- mostly men -- in a matter of weeks.
The 51-year-old, who worked in schools in Asia, is alleged to have befriended kids in a working-class Bangkok neighbourhood before building a rapport on social networks, police sources told AFP.
The same month, prosecutors charged another Frenchman with ordering videos of rape and sexual assaults of Filipino children.
In late April, former British Army officer Andrew Whiddett, 70, was found guilty by a London court of spending thousands of pounds paying for live-streamed sexual abuse of children from the Philippines.
The cyber-abuse phenomenon is reaching "Cambodia and Vietnam", warned Damian Kean, of the Thai-based NGO ECPAT, which specialises in combating the sexual exploitation of children.
In hyperconnected Vietnam, foreign paedophiles are increasingly targeting young victims online, often on social media.
The communist state last year instated harsher penalties to combat the crime -- anyone guilty of molesting a child under 16 faces 12 years in prison, while child rape comes with a maximum sentence of death.
But catching a paedophile requires help from the communities within which they operate - communities which are often marginalised, poor and mistrustful.
Souchet of Terre des Hommes explained: "Particularly ethnic minority communities across the region do not trust local authorities.
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