Child sex abusers are known to hang out in red light districts, like this one in Angeles City in the Philippines. (Photo by Vincent Go)
The year 2017 is looking a good year for the campaign and fight against child sexual abuse online. Hundreds of men in Europe, the United States, and Asia have been arrested. Police have gathered evidence of many children being sexually abused.
The number of reports of child abuse is pouring into police offices in developed countries. Interpol and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have arrested 870 pedophiles caught online. They saved hundreds of children.
After cracking the world’s biggest child pornography website run by Florida-based 58-year old Stephen Chase, the police got him 30 years in jail, and many of the 870 caught are about to receive similar sentences.
Chase alone had a huge number of subscribers online. How many more online abusers are still out there, and how many are traveling around the world to abuse children?
For every image of an abused child, a child has been raped. When images are shared, the child is abused again. Images encourage and induce men to abuse children in their own countries and to travel to other countries to abuse children.
In the Philippines, the Preda Foundation supports a proposed law that bans the travel abroad of convicted pedophiles.
Authorities will soon crack encryptions used by online abusers. Soon, the pedophiles will have nowhere to hide. Every time a pedophile opens his computer to view images of child abuse he will be committing a crime. Abusers should all be worried that the police are gathering evidence against them.
It is now a dangerous world for child abusers. Some critics say the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency developed encryption methods and were spreading them free online. Now law enforcement can actually see what is being encrypted.
In England one police official has asked the judiciary to look for another way to punish low-level offenders who view images of children being sexually assaulted. The police, he says, are overwhelmed with an increasing number of reports of child sexual abuse. They are overwhelmed and need to focus on saving victims being abused in the real world.
But that is not the way to go. Every online abuser must be held accountable because the more people view the images, the more children are actually abused. If the judiciary treats drug users as patients and not criminals, it would unburden the police and the courts and they could focus on catching child abusers and jailing them.
The growing success of the police indicates the extent of child abuse online and in the real world. It supports the long held estimate that one in every three girls are victims of sexual abuse and one in six boys are victims too.
This is a terrible indictment of the human species, the one with the big brains, intelligence, and the one that routinely sexually abuses their own offspring and vulnerable children. I have not seen a report where other creatures on the planet do this.
In this generation the world is only awaking and confronting this terrible crime against children. In 1989, the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child was first proposed and passed by the majority of the world's nations. Only then were the rights of children formally proclaimed. National laws followed.
Sexual abuse of children has long-term effects. It damages the human person for life and leads to many psychological problems, addiction, dependency, self-harm, and suicides. We need to know that emotionally disturbed people should not be judged as psychologically unbalanced, mentally sick, but should be understood as carrying unbearable burdens and are in need of support and help.
The spread of harmful drugs in society can be linked to childhood abuse, and it is just desperate self-medication to ease the pain, the suffering and the fear. They need help to forget the abuse and the anger and hatred that they carry with them.
We all know that the many victims need a cure, and emotional expression therapy is a great help. It can only be successful if the victim shares the deepest feelings about abuse with a supportive and trusted person. It is not always a hopeless situation. There is a path to recovery, and a more balanced life with inner freedom from the tension and pressure of the buried pain.
Irish Father Shay Cullen, SSC, established the Preda Foundation in Olongapo City in 1974 to promote human rights and the rights of children, especially victims of sex abuse.