The UN has said that the vile trade in online sexual abuse of children was increasingly shifting away from the Philippines and into Thailand.
However, Deanna Davy, senior research consultant at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), warned that demand for the online abuse of children was “outstripping the supply”.
Thailand is a regional hub for the smuggling and trafficking of men, women, and children from poorer neighbouring countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar.
Many are forced to work in the country’s sex industry and in labour-intensive industries such as fishing, construction and agriculture.
About four million migrants live in Thailand, according to 2015 government data. The UNODC estimates that between up to a quarter of those are trafficking victims.
Jeremy Douglas, regional representative of the UNODC, said recent intelligence showed a shift in child sex abuse webcam centres to Thailand from the Philippines.
“It used to be the Philippines but through some of our interviews we’ve found that it’s moving here and we’re seeing some intelligence indicate that a move of people setting up operations in Thailand is happening,” Mr Douglas told Reuters.
He added that the victims were children from Thailand and neighbouring countries.
“When things operate in the shadows like that it’s really hidden — but this should be an issue of concern,” he said.
The UN children’s agency said in a 2016 report that poor families in the Philippines were pushing their children into performing online sex acts, describing it as a form of “child slavery”.
In recent months, PLN has reported on numerous cases of “cyberporn dens” being raided in the Philippines, and also on the trials of foreign perverts who paid for footage of child abuse.