Pedophiles possess no tidy criminal profile. They come from all walks of life. Some are married, some single; some professional, some blue-collar; some young, some retired. Some prefer boys, and some prefer girls. Some are attracted to young children, others to older children. In short, pedophilia, or an adult's sexual attraction to a child, is a sickness that does not discriminate by race, class or age. It knows no bounds, and afflicts people in every segment of society. Most pedophiles do, however, share several characteristics. The overwhelming majority of pedophiles are male. Only a very small percentage of women abuse children sexually, and they are usually cooperating with a male aggressor. Few pedophiles are able to resist their powerful urges to initiate sexual contact with children. As a result, child molesters often make efforts to gain access to or authority over children. They take jobs where children are easily approached, or they actively pursue youngsters by befriending parents (particularly single parents), attending events for children, coaching children's sports, chaperoning camping trips, frequenting video arcades or offering baby-sitting services to friends, family and neighbors with children. The majority of pedophiles prefer children on the brink of puberty and prey on a child's sexual ignorance and curiosity. To quote one molester, "Give me a kid who knows nothing about sex, and you've given me my next victim." Small groups of militant and highly organized child molesters operate worldwide through pedophile organizations, whose members claim genuine concern for the welfare of children. Their belief is that sex with children is harmless; some even claim that sexual relations are healthy for children. These groups' goals include decriminalizing child molestation and lowering the age of consent. The actual number of members in these organizations is unknown, though one, the Rene Guyon Society, is listed in the Gale Encyclopedia of Associations as having 5,000 members. Other major pedophile organizations include NAMBLA (The North American Man-Boy Love Association) and PAN (Pedophile Alert Network) in the Netherlands. Members receive monthly magazines and newsletters that include seduction techniques and advice on avoiding detection and prosecution. One group's "Lure of the Month" column gives advice on approaching and seducing children. In one month's column, soap crayons were praised for their effectiveness: "Children undress themselves!" NAMBLA's "Entrapment of the Month" column has alerted members to covert government child-pornography sting operations. In one newsletter alone, NAMBLA correctly identified 10 sting operations in five different states. In just three years, NAMBLA exposed and compromised four federal sting operations as well, including Project Looking Glass, Candy's Love Club, Project Sea Hawk and Project Borderline. Clearly, these organizations have connections. In addition to attending pedophile conferences and conventions, some child molesters meet via the Internet where they may swap methods, success stories, even names, descriptions and images of children. Customs officials indicate that the anonymous nature of Internet communication is quickly replacing the printed pedophile newsletter. While the average child molester does not belong to a pedophile organization, it would be foolish not to take seriously any group whose members are committed to sexual activity with children. Indeed, pedophiles are often difficult to detect and can be found in the most unlikely places. Knowing this, we must provide our children with the tools to recognize and avoid potentially abusive individuals and situations.
Kenneth Wooden is a familiar face on the news-magazine and morning-show circuit, having appeared on Oprah Winfrey and Today. Winfrey has touted her program featuring Wooden and Child Lures Prevention as her most important ever. Ken works tirelessly to make his vision of a safer world for children a reality.Used with permission of Kenneth Wooden & Child Lures Prevention. Excerpted from the Child Lures School Program and Child Lures Parent Guide.