A video call comes through from this random person on Skype. I hit the accept button (because my curiosity always gets the better of me). A bearded American male in his 40’s (he later said he was 50) appears onscreen.
What follows is a condensed version of our Skype-versation:
Him: “Omg. You’re cute! I love it. I love it.”
Me: “Hello and thanks.”
Him: “Are you 18?” Me: “No. Take another guess.” Him: “You’re 25. You want to work for me?” Me: “Sure. What work is that?” Him: “All you need is Paypal, internet in your home, a video cam, and you do things on cam. I have 100s of Filipinas working for me.”
This guy, whose handle was “parker”, was recruiting women to work for him in what I assume is cyberporn-related business. The town of Cordova, Cebu was once tagged as Cyberporn Capital in the region due to the high number of women, including minors, in the area who were “doing things” on camera for customers abroad. Mothers were pimping out their own daughters because they reason that there is no harm in “doing things” in front of a camera since there is no touching involved, and they get paid easily. Local authorities, with the help of the US Homeland Security team from the US Embassy in Manila, cracked down on the cyberporn ring and eventually snuffed it out of Cordova.
But it looks like the recruitment strategies of the pimps just upped their game as well. I think I met this Parker guy on Tinder. Whatever reasons pushed me to download that darn dating app, I regret it now. Nothing good ever came out of it. I didn’t meet up with anyone of my matches because most of them were only looking for hook-ups, and the decent ones I talked to are continents away. I deleted the app from my phone right after the Skype pimping incident. Parker, it seems, has made Tinder his hunting ground for Filipinas who might want to make money on the side “doing things” on camera.
Parker’s headhunting technique may be justified as to how he’s not forcing the women to work for him. He does make an effort to make sure the female isn’t a minor (he did ask if I was 18.) But still, isn’t this some kind of exploitation of women? Parker preys on women who, for monetary reasons, would expose themselves and “do things.” I have a decent-paying stable job, so I wouldn’t be inclined to take my top off and wiggle my girls in front of the videocamera so I can earn extra money. I can easily earn extra without having to show skin.
So the moral of this story would be these: if you must go to Tinder, tread carefully. Jerks and other undesirables lurk there, waiting to pounce on the young, the vulnerable, the unsuspecting. But then, you don’t have to be on Tinder to find a date. In my case, I’m praying the Lord will deliver the love of my life to me in the flesh or at least in the form of conversations. I have a weakness for men who can make me think and laugh, so a conversation in whatever form would be a possible springboard for Prince Charming to jump into my life.
On a serious note, do let me know if you see me, or someone who looks like me, in websites you don’t want your mother to know you’re visiting. Because if I appear there, I intend to collect every dollar I’m supposed to get from Parker.