A secretive sting operation to catch paedophiles in Malta set up by TVM show Xarabank ended up getting more responses than anyone could have ever expected, with over 800 pages of chats and a sizeable number of men incessantly messaging to meet a virtual underage girl over a period of two months.
Countless dick pics were sent, as well as a video of a man masturbating at his work’s bathroom (complete with sounds of him grunting and all), ostensibly to a Facebook account of an underage girl.
Acting as a 13 or 14-year-old girl behind a profile picture of a soft toy, the profile itself was left barren of photos so as not to entice anyone. Nonetheless, men were asking to meet up and have sex with her in their car within 24 hours of adding her as a friend.
Members of the Xarabank team set up and handled the account, joining a few dating groups on Facebook as well as sent out some friend requests.
Within days, the fake account was inundated with requests to meet up by men aged 40 years old on average, with the oldest being 62 years old
The men would ask the girl for photos of herself in various poses; the Xarabank team sent photos of a 20-year-old Maltese woman with her permission, and responded in kind to flirty men. However, the team repeatedly peppered in language to remind the men they were chatting to a 13-year-old girl.
Several men stopped chatting to her when they found out she was 13 years old, while others professed their guilt, oftentimes asking the girl not the get them in trouble.
Nonetheless, many repeatedly asked to meet. Some even offered money to meet her.
One man was especially not deterred, even asking about her mother’s situation and if she needed anything.
Another man couldn’t believe she was 14 years old, but soon got over it and said: “I bet your down below looks nice”.
The apex of the sting operation comes when the fake account confirms a date, time and location to meet with the men
Many men were overjoyed to be finally meeting the underage girl, flirting with her and sharing their excitement, some asking what kind of panties she’d be wearing.
One man, who revealed he already had a girlfriend, said his partner only liked having sex once every 15 days, which wasn’t enough for him. When the Xarabank team asked to meet up with him, he at first said he couldn’t, because he had plans with his girlfriend and friends.
Shortly after, however, he cancelled the plans, and said he was able to meet up for sex with the 14-year-old.
Needless to say, when the Xarabank team ended up cancelling with some random excuse, most men were extremely disappointed, with some even getting mad at the girl. However, they would soon relent, and once again beg for a chance to meet her.
Since the underage girl in question did not exist, no crime had been committed by the men. However, if an older person attempts to have sexual relations with an underage person, under Maltese law they would be sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison if found guilty.
People reacted strongly to the video
Lovin Malta reached out to Xarabank’s Mark Laurence Zammit, who detailed the disturbing but eye-opening experience
“It wasn’t nice chatting with them,” Mark began. “There were days when we would chat with multiple men for hours on end and we would go home very disturbed and worried. I don’t feel angry anymore though. After going through more than 800 pages of chats, we realised that even these men need help. Even though their actions are sinister, they themselves are not evil. I understand that people are shocked about the results of the investigation because we are shocked as well. But I wish that people would eventually put their emotions on the side and think about it. Because seeking revenge on these men will not solve anything. It will not stop them and it will not protect our children. These people need help.”