Police are investigating schoolgirl Web sites because of fears they may be targeted by pedophiles offering gifts in return for photographs, a British newspaper reported Sunday.
“British girls as young as 14 are inviting strangers to send them presents through their Web sites, sometimes offering intimate pictures in return,” the Observer said.
According to the paper, the teenage craze caught on when word got around among the girls that they could obtain expensive presents from older men by linking their Web sites to sites such as felicite.com, which offers a wedding list service.
The Observer said felicite.com suspended 100 accounts linked to schoolgirl sites last week after the murder of a 13-year-old girl, Christina Long, close to its office headquarters in Connecticut in the United States.
Police and child safety campaigners are said to be alarmed.
“It’s a very worrying trend, and something we should be getting a more accurate picture of,” the Observer quoted the head of Britain’s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit as saying.
Earlier this week, the unit led a series of raids in which about 50 suspected members of a pedophile “brotherhood” were arrested in seven countries.