Loose Women introduced a new segment to the show – Loose Women Undercover – with a hard-hitting investigation into child grooming online.
Nadia Sawalha and Linda Robson met with a woman who is dedicating her life to catching paedophiles who target potential victims on the internet.
The self-styled hunter explained how easy it is for children to fall victim to these would-be offenders – and how she goes about exposing them.
‘Julie’ revealed that she creates fake profiles using pictures given by adults of them as children.
“How we build a profile is as a child would, so we create an email address – with a fake name – and then we build a profile,” she told the presenters.
“The pictures that we use, it’s clear that they are children, some are wearing school uniform.
“Within seconds or minutes we are receiving messages and friend requests. There is sexual language.
“A lot of them will be very rude within the first message, not even knowing how old the person is.”
The mum went on to explain that once the adult – mostly middle-aged men – has asked to meet and their sexual intentions have been made clear, she will confront them.
The police will then be notified.
“I don’t go out and hurt these people. I don’t wish them harm, I don’t wish their families harm,” she stated. “I’m bringing these men to the attention of police.
“I am the voice of the children, the voice of children who can’t speak up.”
Visibly shaken by the investigation, Nadia recounted a terrifying story about a friend of hers to illustrate how vulnerable anyone’s child is to the dangers of online grooming.
The mum-of-two recalled: “Something had happened just a few weeks before, with friends of my daughter.
“They were just playing upstairs on an app, on a live app, and the mum who was holding the sleepover suddenly got a call from another parent – mum of a kid who’d gone to this sleepover – saying: ‘Have you seen what the girls are doing?’
“She said: ‘Yeah they are fine, they are upstairs playing on this app, I can hear them dancing and having a great time.’
“She was then told: ‘No, no, no have a look,’ by the other mum – and it was horrendous.
“These were young girls under 10, playing on an app and somehow some paedophiles had come onto the scene.
“They were saying to the girls: ‘Have you ever played the pants game? Have you got cucumber?’
“My poor friend was mortified – she was holding a sleepover and this was going on in the room upstairs while she was in the lounge watching telly.”
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The former EastEnders actress then went on to say that the hunter was annoyed when she told her it was never reported to the police.
Since their encounter, Nadia explained she is taking extra precautions: “Since meeting her I’d drill into every app on my children’s phones and ask, is it safe?”