I remember in 1997 standing in Scotland Yard with the then head of the Paedophile Unit watching the arrival of a large furniture van filled with explicit material seized from just one house. He explained that tracking and catching paedophiles was – in his words – “like tracking terrorists”. The secrecy required to belong to some of these rings was on a par with the most clandestine terrorist organisations.
I remember standing on a beach in Sri Lanka and being approached often by people wanting to sell their children, as they mistook me for one of the thousands and thousands of men from Western industrialised nations who went to the Pacific Rim where it was much easier to abuse children than at home.
I remember being shown by the police explicit material from the internet of how to groom children and other manuals concerning that kind of activity.
I remember all this as the announcement was made yesterday that in the next Queens Speech there will be legislation to close a loophole where paedophiles can possess manuals on how to spot potential child targets, how to groom them and how to evade capture. Apparently the new penalties will be on a level with those who possess bomb making equipment and is being promoted to be as strong a sanction as any other terrorist.
Apparently this has been prompted by the authorities finding these guides to abusing children in cyberspace in what’s called the ‘dark web’.
Well, some of us have known about this, and lobbied for it for years, and of course it’s good that people listen, but it is a bit late for some of the children that could have been spared the trauma of abuse over the last 20 years.
As I’ve said before, a root and branch national enquiry into the sexual abuse of children and all activity associated with it would be a start,by