On Amazon and the availability of pedophilia on the web

[Trigger warning for rape, pedophilia, child molestation]

All of the news and tech sites have been in a fluster over an e-book on Amazon titled The Pedophiles Guide to Love & Pleasure: a Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct.  Originally, Amazon defended the title despite the media pushback, saying that they support the right of consumers to make their own purchasing decisions.  That’s like saying that web hosts support the right of internet users to make their own web browsing decisions and allowing instructional terrorist guides.  Either way, Amazon pulled the book after all, in response to a potential boycott and the book is now nowhere to be found on Amazon.

This couldn’t have come at a more coincidental time.  Last week, I had a horrific Facebook experience that might have scarred me for life.  I have an alternate Facebook account that I use for playing social games.  I have over 2,000 friends there, people who I trade FarmVille nails and boards with and befriend for the purpose of playing social games.  I don’t know these people in real life, and I accept any friend request that comes in.  I don’t share any personal information, not even my real name.  Last week, amongst the requests for helping to build FarmVille barns and adopt lost animals, some child pornography showed up in my Facebook newsfeed.  I’m not talking about that creepy kind of porn where women who are obviously 21+ are wearing pigtails and school uniforms.  I’m talking, these were children younger than 10 doing things that children should never be doing.

I wanted to just close the browser and run away screaming, but I needed to report this guy.  I clicked on his profile and saw that his entire profile was FILLED with these kind of pictures.  His latest status said “I’m sharing some pictures to prove that I’m not a cop, who has more pics to trade?” and he had albums and albums of these pictures.  I reported him twice, because the first time I selected “nudity” and the second time I selected “illegal activity”.  Then I noticed that all of his posts had dozens of “likes”.  Who the hell would like these posts?  I had to know.  And that’s when I dove into treacherous territory for the sake of reporting as many pedophiles as I could.  This guy had OVER 600 FRIENDS who were just as perverse as he is.  I’m talking the most disgusting and vile profile content, the most illegal pictures I have ever seen.  Chances are I could get arrested simply for having these images in my browser cache, but you better believe I reported every single one of these people to Facebook and then promptly cleared my cache.  These guys were all saying they had thousands of pictures to trade.  ”Real Pictures”, they claimed.

This completely broke my heart.  I have no idea who these children are.  These weren’t just nude pictures of children, they were pictures of kids being raped and forced to rape other kids.  Little precious kids.  Were they kidnapping victims?  Were they being babysat at the time?  Did they trust and love the person taking these pictures?  Are these their fathers and mothers who are posting these pictures?  Who are these kids, and how can they be saved?  These questions were flying through my head as I was spam clicking “report” on all these profiles.

What freaks me out, is that I stumbled across this guy randomly who connected me to all these other people.  This was just ONE ring of these people.  For every one I found, I bet there are hundreds on Facebook.   I’m not even going to go on a limb and blame Facebook, these people are all over the internet.  I’ve done my research on this in the past, if you want to connect with pedophiles on the web it is astonishingly mind-blowingly easy to do so.  That scares the shit out of me.  This isn’t a social network problem, this is a worldwide problem.  In Facebook’s credit, all of these profiles were banned within 5 minutes of me reporting them.  That’s some fast turnaround time.

The rest of this post is not to draw attention to these sites and people so that pedophiles can connect with them.  It’s to prove that with a simple Google search for “boylove” (which is a common term that pedophiles use to refer to their perversions) can bring up thousands and thousands of sites.  [Warning: All of these links are NSFW and disgusting and not recommended for clicking]  There are organizations like the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) who defends pedophilia as a “mutually consensual relationship between men and boys”.  There are message boards for these people.  There are “Christian” message boards for these people.  There are pages of resource links.  There are websites that claim to be “by boylovers for boylovers”.  There is an entire wiki dedicated to exposing these “pro-pedophilia” websites which also outs known pedophiles who are frequenting websites and writing their own blogs.

And guess what?  Amazon might have banned ONE pedophile book, but there many many more on Amazon.  One that has been frequently boycotted in the past is Viamund the Boy-Love Vampyre Says.. which is a sick poetry book written by a member of NAMBLA.  Or Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers.  Or Adam and the Paradise Garden: A Boy-Love Novel.  And all the wealth of erotic boylove fiction?   There are over 60 more books on Amazon just with the term “boylove”.  And don’t get me wrong, there are just as many “GirlLover” websites and books out there which focus on grooming and primping female children into pedophilia.

Maybe I’m completely in the wrong for posting all these links.  But you know what?  I found them in 5 minutes after seeing the names of the websites on these creepy pedophile Facebook profiles.  They are all over Google.  They are all over the web.  All this focus on banning this one book is a good start, but there are hundreds and thousands more out there.  The internet is a truly disgusting place if you wade into unfamiliar territory.  This unfamiliar territory was forced upon me by accidentally accepting a friend request from someone on Facebook that I didn’t know.  I have now seen things that I can never, ever, possibly un-see.  You hear about this stuff on the news, you read about it on CNN, but you never ever expect to come face to face with it.

What can be done?  Most of these sites are self-hosted so you can’t attack the web host.  They hide behind their “freedom of speech” and their strength in numbers and their internet anonymity, and they are self contained and fed emotionally by other pedophiles who feel the same way they do.  They are on YouTube and Facebook and Blogger and MySpace.  These are predators who often are on parole or suspensions due to previous acts of molestation or child pornography, and they’re easily accessible on the internet.  After seeing what I saw, I can understand parents keeping their children away from the internet while unsupervised.  If I had seen those images when I was a child, I would have been scarred even worse than I am now.

33 thoughts on “On Amazon and the availability of pedophilia on the web”

  1. We, and the laws we abide by, don’t approve of what they do, but pedos are here to stay, just like zoophiles, necrophiles, straight people, gay people, etc, so we all may as well get used to it and just keep kids away from them.

    It isn’t popular speech that needs the protection of the first amendment, obviously. Are you suggesting that we deny these people their constitutional rights as guaranteed by the first amendment because we don’t approve of what they say or advocate? As a self-identified pansexual, you can certainly understand what it means to be discriminated against because of who you are and what you advocate.

    If they’re actually breaking the law, that’s one thing and the law should come down hard on them, but if they’re EXPRESSING unpopular things, THAT requires protection by the 1st, the same protection that you and I enjoy for our more popular opinions.

    What worries me more than some nasty old guy/lady wanking to a picture of a kid is encouraging knee-jerk mob mentality with regards to the application of law; THAT is what fertilizes the seed of ABUSE of the law which will eventually get to you and me.

  2. “This isn’t a social network problem, this is a worldwide problem.” Well put.

    On a positive note, people are doing amazing organizing against sexual violence that I find really inspiring. I especially admire the work the feminist activists Generation FIVE does to end sexual violence, especially against children: http://www.generationfive.org/ They see the sexual abuse of children as interdependent on other forms of power imbalance and are working to end sexual abuse alongside all other oppression. I admire their vision, because the criminal justice system doesn’t work and it is exciting to see what alternatives people are developing to confront abuse in their communities.

    I really recommend Generation FIVE’s pamphlet Toward Transformative Justice: http://www.generationfive.org/downloads/G5_Toward_Transformative_Justice.pdf

  3. @Pragmatist

    Okay, I’m approving your post but only because I want to respond to it as an example so you’re the last one who posts this kind of comment.

    This isn’t “free speech” we’re talking about here. This is practicing and/or supporting illegal activity. Abuse and sexual assault to children is not something that is protected under the law, and neither is providing pictures of it. These weren’t pictures of people sitting around in a circle singing happy songs about loving children. These were images of the brutal RAPE of children. You can absolutely not equate this with people being straight or gay. There is a big difference between adults having consensual heterosexual and/or homosexual sex, and people having sex with children under the age of consent. It is a federal offense to possess these images. That’s a far cry from being gay or having sex with an animal.

    We may as well just ‘get used to it’ and protect ourselves from them? Way to victim blame there, buddy. It is not OUR responsibility to protect OURSELVES from people who are practicing illegal activity. These people do not get a free pass to just exist simply because they’re seemingly not going away.

    Once again, these weren’t just pictures of kids to ‘wank off to’ as you have put it. These were children performing sex acts on adults and each other. This is ILLEGAL content, and is not protected by the 1st amendment. Please check out New York vs. Ferber in 1982, which specifically says that child pornography is not protected by the First Amendment at all.

  4. @Pragmatist: Really? Really. In a post about hundreds or thousands of pictures of children being sexually abused. Priorities, maybe?

  5. People who compare being gay to pedophilia scare the fuck out of me because they clearly have no concept of consent. If they knew what consent was, they would see how that comparison is deeply offensive. But it’s obvious Pragmatist didn’t even read the post.

    @cuppy That really sucks that that happened to you, but well done on reporting them. *offers brain bleach*

  6. Censorship aside, I’m slightly amazed that a large retailer like Amazon even wants to sell these books. Non-fiction about pedophilia as a phenomenon (eg, books on treatment), absolutely. But actual novels? *shudder*. I think while government level censorship has it’s place I’m amazed that individual retailers don’t take a moral stance on – well – anything!

    Oh and ditto for facebook taking this stuff down ASAP.

  7. We already know that the sharing and creation of pedophile images is illegal. It is illegal because minor cannot give legal consent to any sexual act. Any and all sexual acts without consent are classified as sexual assault and rape. There are entire departments of law enforcement around the world whose job is the apprehension and prosecution of these criminals.

    The question is whether are not Amazon selling of books such as “The Pedophiles Guide to Love & Pleasure: a Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct” illegal and should they be forced not to sell such books. While I agree this an awful book which seems to teach pedophiles how to abuse children, I find it difficult to support any calls for censorship.

    My problem is not that I wish for a book such as the above to published (I don’t and it truly sickens me to know that a fellow human being wrote it) it is that any law which is passed to censor it may be applicable to other books. The books Ii am talking about are ones such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov or any other novel which attempts to tackle such a controversial topic. How long would it be till the same law is used against them. Maybe first it will be used against illegal pot growers, who will now be unable to buy there home growing manuals. Then it will be the anarchist cookbooks that will be banned followed by other chemistry books which could conceivably used to create explosive materials. Will we only ban books to be sold by Amazon that can be used to commit crimes which are illegal in the United States. If we create a precedence that Amazon can not sell books in countries where they may assist in a crime, how will this affect the marginalised in other less free countries.

    Censorship knows no bounds, it is a Pandora’s Box which we should at least try to keep closed. My fear of censorship is that it makes us incapable of fully understanding the human condition. If we are unable to understand our fellow human beings, how can we ever hope to help them.

  8. *hugs for cuppy* Well done on getting stuff reported that needed to be, and I hope you managed to have a nice relaxing refreshing SOMETHING after that to clear your mind!

    now, moving on to Pragmatist’s point:

    Opposition to censorship is one of my core beliefs. I don’t particularly want to purge Amazon of every distasteful book. I absolutely do not want to purge the internet of everyone discussing distasteful subjects, so long as they remain at the level of discussing rather than doing. When people are actually DOING things, I want them tracked down and STOPPED. And to global law enforcement’s credit, they are regularly doing big infiltrations of pedophile rings, arresting perpetrators, and rescuing kids in bad situations. They’re not perfect, it’s an ongoing war, but they keep trying.

    There is a ‘problem’ with the internet that it allows extremists of every stripe to congregate and become even more convinced of their rightness through positive feedback from each other. I followed a link to a very nasty site during a SomethingAwful “forum invasion” once, and one of the worst things I saw there was members actively trying to radicalise other members and encouraging them to harm children rather than just looking at pictures online.

    THOSE are the people we should be reporting to the police, and hopefully those are the people the police are already following.

    (I should point out – animals can’t consent EITHER, although under current legal frameworks assaulting an animal is generally considered less serious than assaulting a child. But what’s LEGAL and what’s ETHICAL are not necessarily the same thing.)

  9. So, what’s the next step? I mean, reporting stuff to Facebook when it’s found on their network is a good step one… but are they forwarding information to the authorities? The addresses and other contact info on Facebook put up by the pedophiles is probably fake, but there’s a good possibility they can be traced back through their ISP just from the information in Facebook’s server logs. I hope FB does something more with this than just shut down the page, because the person who made it will just make a new one and start right back up…

    Regarding the books on Amazon, I’m tentatively leaning towards Michael’s view. Photos, video and anything else which involves harming children in the process of being produced are of course right out.

    But, I don’t think censorship is always unjustified. It would be justified if it could be shown that there’s an indirect effect; that is, if pedophiles are more likely to hurt children if they have access to the material than not.

    So I feel like I need to do more research, but if I had to come up with a policy now: instruction manuals for how to trap children, censor the crap out of that. Fiction, though, leave uncensored. I don’t like having it around, but until we’ve got some reason to think that censoring it would help children, it’s not right for the law to step in.

  10. Michael, your post sounds a lot like a slippery slope fallacy to me. How do you know it’s a Pandora’s Box or that everything will lead into another and inevitably result in a loss of freedoms? What do you have to support that argument? Because it’s a rather large leap to make on theory and speculation alone. Is there evidence that censorship, in the majority of situations it’s been utilized, knows no bounds?

    I think framing these situations as foregone conclusions seems a bit hasty, as I think it would be possible to prevent that outcome with awareness and restraint.

    @cuppycake: I also offer more brain bleach, since I imagine you’ll need a lot.

  11. Well tell it to the victims, frankly i feel great discomfort when people write almost esseys about such subject and like 5% of it is about victims (oh, yes dully noted ) and rest is about how censorship is bad and it’s Pandora’s Box etc. Ah, “price of freedom” it’s so great when you are not one paying it…

  12. I think the next step would not be relying on the authorities, because we know how often the criminal justice system (state violence) fails to rehabilitate perpetrators and adequately support victims. I believe we should be working to transform the conditions of a society that promotes power inequalities & violence against those with the least power, children.

    I hope folks discouraged read the links I posted in comment #2… I find the concept of Transformative Justice deeply inspiring.

  13. A lot of people are crying “censorship” over Amazon’s actions. But A) Amazon is a private company, not a government entity like a public school or a library. And B) they aren’t banishing the book from existence; they’re just refusing not to carry it.

    It’s okay for stores to decide not to sell things. Think about all the things they choose not to sell at Safeway, or Toys-R-Us. Is that censorship? No, it’s just choosing what items to offer for sale to your audience.

    And your last point is a good one. A lot of people think of Net Nanny-style programs as annoying and over-parenting. Those people clearly have no idea what kinds of stuff exists on the internet.

  14. Erika, good point on the censorship thing. It’s not unimaginable that the government might step in on stuff like this, as it has in the past… but my bad equivocating between that and Amazon’s actions.

  15. Erika – yes, thanks. While I wouldn’t personally lead the purge on Amazon’s catalog, I’m not going to be outraged at them choosing not to carry something like that, there’s a big difference between censoring the entire internet and one store choosing not to carry something.

  16. I read the post and the first few comments late last night, and I’ve been too nauseated trying to digest all of it to post, until now.

    Erika has hit the nail right on the head: Amazon is a private company, that has the right to sell whatever it wants (within legal bounds). At the same time we have the right to air grievances, create bad publicity, and threaten to take our business elsewhere. It’s abundantly clear that Amazon doesn’t have a vetting process, given that books like these, and vastly less harmful crap like compilations of Wikipedia entries, clutter their virtual shelves.

    What disturbs me is that nobody in Amazon’s chain of command seems to realize that there’s a difference between The Adventures of Humbert Humbert, and Child Molestation for Dummies.

  17. @Erika

    Yes, people forget that sites and services have Terms of Services that anyone who uses the service has to follow. This isn’t ‘censorship’ any more than us disallowing homophobic comments here on The Border House. (And trust me, we get blamed for ‘censoring’ people all the time when we don’t approve comments) Amazon has every right to disallow whatever books they want from being sold on their website.

  18. What disturbs me is that nobody in Amazon’s chain of command seems to realize that there’s a difference between The Adventures of Humbert Humbert, and Child Molestation for Dummies.

    I peered around a few news links yesterday when I first heard about this story, and at least one newspaper article claimed that the book was actually all about how pedophiles could deal with their urges while staying within the law.

    But as I obviously have not READ the book, I don’t know how accurate that is, nor do I have any idea what that “within the law” meant, since that could mean anything from looking at clothing catalogs to touching kids in ways that won’t get them caught.

  19. @Neo Romantic

    I saw excerpts from the book, and it was definitely not about staying within the law. There were [trigger warning] explanations of how to fit condoms to little boys who haven’t hit puberty yet.

  20. Nothing disgusts me quite like people being undeniable asshats and claiming they are pragmatic. This comment should be cut for comparing consensual sexual acts to non-consensual ones. That right there is a logic fail and renders the rest of their fear mongering moot. Not to mention the lack of comprehension that equates refusing to sell a book to “omg thoughcrime!”

    Cuppy, I am so sorry you had that experience but very glad because you did the right thing.

  21. @Cuppycake

    … Ow my brain. :( Okay, yeah, that definitely does not need to be on sale there.

    @Terisaw – There are censors who don’t understand the difference either, unfortunately…

  22. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. I hope you’re alright.

    I am absolutely disgusted by the fact that Amazon banned queer literature for being obscene, yet decided to defend this under the excuse of people being able to choose what they wanted to buy. It shows their ridiculously offensive hierarchy of how “obscene” something actually is.

  23. “Most of these sites are self-hosted so you can’t attack the web host.”

    OHHHHH HOOOOOHHHHH Yes you can! As a matter of fact it’s easier. You can take the host the “www.something.com” and ping it in you local comand prompt:

    Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
    (C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

    C:\Documents and Settings\Maverynthia.ARCHIEL>ping http://www.amazon.com

    Pinging http://www.amazon.com [72.21.207.65] with 32 bytes of data:

    If you type in 72.21.207.65 in a browser, you get amazon.

    Toss that into Find IP Address and you get: Seattle Washington as the place the server is hosted in with the ISP of Amazon.com. You can even see an exact map of the location with longitude and latitude.
    I’m sure that local authorities have even deeper ways of finding the exact address. Most of those will even ping back to a specific ISP. Like mine will show Comcast as the ISP.

  24. Facebook makes their dimes on pandering to these people.

    It began as a service for just College and High School teens/young adults. Then they opened it up because they knew it would attract the prurient. There is always easy money on the internet for exploitation.

    If Facebook does not respond to your red flags. Get out of Facebook. Don’t give them anymore money through exposure or ad clicks.

  25. I’m sorry for what you saw when you went down the rabbit hole. Yet, at the same time–as someone with many nieces and nephews and also working in the public school system at the elementary level–I am extremely grateful that you outed such people.

    Wonder if facebook actually notified the proper authorities about the flagged accounts…

    -Ani8

  26. Hearing this absolutely breaks my heart. We all know stuff like this happens but coming face to face with it is devastating. I don’t know what else to say. Thanks for being brave enough to wade through it and report.

  27. Regarding “censorship” by private companies: What is your opinion of a bookseller that refused to stock “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie after the Ayatollah of Iran issued his fatwa condemning it?

  28. [sarcasm]Pedosexuals: the one minority that it’s still okay to hate.[/sarcasm]

    Lead Agent: [to NAMBLA leader] We’ve been after you for a long time, buddy! Do you know your rights?
    NAMBLA Leader: Rights? Does anybody know their rights? You see, I’ve learned something today. Our forefathers came to this country because…they believed in an idea. An idea called “freedom.” They wanted to live in a place where a group couldn’t be prosecuted for their beliefs. Where a person can live the way he chooses to live. You see us as being perverted because we’re different from you. People are afraid of us, because they don’t understand. And sometimes it’s easier to persecute than to understand.
    Kyle: Dude, you have sex with children!
    NAMBLA Leader: We are human. Most of us didn’t even choose to be attracted to young boys. We were born that way. We can’t help the way we are, and if you all can’t understand that, well, then, I guess you’ll just have to put us away.
    Kyle: [slowly] Dude. You have sex with children!
    Stan: Yeah. You know, we believe in equality for everybody, and tolerance, and all that gay stuff, but dude, fuck you.
    Kyle: Seriously.

  29. As far as what can be done about these people?

    Hacktivism.

    Groups are out there that fight this sort of stuff — though it is a non-stop battle. Social networking has made that struggle even harder, unfortunately.

    Reading this sort of stuff is incredibly disturbing to me. :/

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