Sexual predators use bulletin board apps for child prostitution, child porn: police
Smartphone bulletin board apps are increasingly being used for underage prostitution and child pornography, police sources have told the Mainichi.
According to the sources, the apps fall outside the law regulating dating sites as they are solely message boards, with no other internal functionality. However, they are designed so that users can attach contact links that jump to free communication applications like Line and Skype, meaning they are in effect dating sites and prompting police to dub them “extra-legal apps.”
Generally, bulletin board apps are downloaded and installed from the Internet. Users can post messages and photos of their faces, and read what other users have written. Bulletin board apps being used for sex crimes and other illicit acts tend to have a field where a user can post their Skype or Line IDs.
People cannot send messages or otherwise directly contact fellow users within a bulletin board app itself. If, however, someone posts their Skype ID, it’s possible to contact them directly on Skype. In the case of Line, users can get in touch with someone if they search the service with the person’s Line ID.
Authorities believe that the majority of people using these types of bulletin board apps are seeking “dates,” and there are an endless number of posts likely connected to criminal acts, including messages from girls under 18.
According to the National Police Agency (NPA), in the first half of 2013 alone 117 boys and girls under the age of 18 were sexually victimized — including cases of child prostitution — after posting on bulletin board apps. There were just 36 such victims in all of 2012. The NPA says there could very well be a large number of cases logged in the second half of 2013 as well.
“Would you like a sexy part-time job?” “400,000 yen guaranteed per session, and we’ll hide your face. It’s easy!”
These are the sorts of messages posted using a bulletin board app by a 41-year-old man arrested by the Osaka Prefectural Police on suspicion of child pornography and child prostitution law violations. The suspect was trying to lure in underage girls.
The man was convicted of contacting 11 girls under 18 via bulletin board posts, sexually assaulting them at hotels, and making child porn DVDs. According to investigative sources, the culprit told police, “My chances of actually meeting the girls were much higher when I used bulletin board apps.”
The man has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
February 01, 2014(Mainichi Japan)