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Sexual Exploitation of Children - The Conspiracy of Silence

NCJ Number
Police Magazine Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1982) Pages: 46-51
G M Caplan
Date Published
6 pages
The scope and nature of the sexual exploitation of children is discussed, along with a profile of the perpetrator and some suggestions for law enforcement techniques to counter child sexual exploitation.
Although most child-sexual exploitation publicity focuses on dramatic and violent incidents, most child molesters are nonviolent, respected members of their communities. Frequently, the exploiting adult, victimized child, and even the child's parents are partners in a conspiracy of silence and mutual protection, so that the public and even law enforcement agencies are unaware of the extent of child 'sexual' exploitation. Police departments who have committed resources to the specialized investigation of child molestation, however, share the common belief that they have only 'scratched the surface' of this area of child victimization. The Los Angeles Police Department, which established a task force in its juvenile division to assess the nature and scope of child 'sexual' exploitation, has compiled the following profile of the child molester: white, middle-aged, usually unmarried, likely to seek employment and volunteer work that will put him in contact with children, associates with other pedophiles, prefers exclusively one sex and narrow age range, and displays inordinate attention to children. Although victims of child molesters may not suffer physical harm or intimidation, they do suffer long-term psychological damage. This is well documented. Ways to uncover child 'sexual' exploitation are detailed. Photographs are included.