Children are hopelessly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse

Ambivalence and Hypocrisy of Politics in Dealing with Crimes against Children

by Manfred Paulus, Detective Chief Inspector, ret., Germany*

I would like to very briefly draw your attention to a special topic, to a special population group, in order to stand up together for self-determination, right and peace. There is a group of people who is not able to do this for itself, and those are our children. Our children are not able to decide about themselves, they can neither preserve nor win their rights for themselves, and it is often others who decide if there is peace in the children’s rooms. I would merely wish you to include this group in your efforts of taking a stance together, in your thoughts and actions.

Children as victims – some figures

In Germany we do not have children’s rights included in the constitution, our constitutional state does not even mention children in its constitution. In this domain we base ourselves on the UN-Convention of the Rights of the Child. Certainly the human rights are statutory in our constitution. Children are not human beings in the making, they actually are human beings, too, therefore the human rights fully apply to children.
To illustrate the problem I see here, I want to take a look with you at the German Federal Republic in the year 2015. I have brought you some figures which could provoke thought: in the year 2015 in Germany 130 children became victims of homicide and 52 victims of attempted murder. These were cases of murder, homicide and involuntary manslaughter. In the same year in Germany we had 3900 cases of physical abuse reported to the police. There were 270 delicts per week of sexual abuse of children, and 38 were reported daily. There were 68 cases of human trafficking of children with the purpose of sexual exploitation with a total of 77 victims. And in the year 2015 the criminal investigation department in Germany shut down a total of 6560 sites of child pornography.

“Most crimes remain in the dark field”

The same year, ladies and gentlemen, 85,000 so called unaccompanied children came to Western Europe. At the beginning of 2016 at the German Federal Criminal Police Office 4749 children were missing (up to now 10 000 children are missing). These are just conditions we were not acquainted with in Germany since the end of war, the German Federal Republic has never known them up to now: 4749 missing children. These children were registered. We do not want to think about the dark field of those who entered the country and who were not registered. With respect to all these figures a large dark field exists. Anyway, all these figures are derived from an extremely small bright field which is confronted with a tremendous dark field. I think, my colleagues in Germany agree with me in this point. Surely we do not know all homicides which have been committed against children and we do not know much about all physical abuses. Only a fraction became known to the authorities. Most crimes remain in the dark field. Criminal investigators in Germany assume concerning the sexual abuse of children a dark field of about 1:30. That means of 30 sexually motivated crimes or offences against children only one gets known to the authorities. Anyway, we have to deal with enormous dark fields considered to be acceptable. If we extrapolate this 1:30 then we do not have 38 crimes per day against children but more than 1000 every day.
The human trafficking with children consists to a great extent of a dark field and as for the 1560 sites of child pornography, ladies and gentlemen, you might comfortably multiply the figure by hundred. Only a vanishingly small part of these sites are being discovered at all.

Ambivalence and hypocrisy of politics in dealing with crimes against children

At this point let me say some words about child pornography. Generally the opinion predominates that child pornography means sexual practices with children. I know this market and I may tell you that this looks completely different. This means torture, this means torments, this means terrible events which are shown here right up to homicide. This is child pornography. This is threatening. These are the expensive products on our markets. Five thousand missing children are not registered. After the war, we had a tracing service of the Red Cross for such cases. You can be sure that today the number of missing children is not smaller, and the chaotic conditions will certainly last. Nevertheless, what do we say, what does politics say in Germany? Children are our most important, children are our sweethearts, children are the most precious, the most valuable we have, – this is what I always hear. Children are the future, also our future. Now compare with the numbers above and with those gigantic dark fields. I recognise quite a proper portion of ambivalence and hypocrisy in the dealing with those crimes against children. Moreover, children cannot defend themselves.  This is our duty, the duty of the adult.
Sometimes I get the impression that the existence of this dark field is not deliberate. This dark fields allow us to go on dreaming of the rule of law and of an idyllic children’s world. In other areas it is inconceivable that such dark fields are accepted or cultivated for decades. Think only of property crimes, rape crimes, bank heist, or the like. Just recently, I heard an unusual statement from a politician, which really pleased me. Johannes Wilhelm Rörig, the commissioner for abuse of the German Federal Government, who is in charge of these kinds of offences, said, sexual abuse of children is a basic risk of a childhood in Germany today. As sad, as embarrassing this statement according to my insight is – and I have had decades in this field – it is nothing but correct. If how a society deals with their children is an indication of its condition, then ours is in a very, very bad shape.

Missing children will become perpetrators or victims or even both

I predict, the treatment of children in our society will have consequences. I know this from my own experience. Children who become acquainted with violence as a suitable means of solving conflicts or for pursuing goals or desires, will later use violence themselves. Here I reckon the risks for them using sexual violence right up to IS and the like, which means right up to terrorism. That is why they do not have a hard time recruiting. But that is the future. To readress the matter of the five thousand missing children at the moment, what will happen to these children? They will become – as I predict – either perpetrators or victims, or even both. This is inevitable. This is the direction of the development including kinds of perpetrators and victims in every respect.

The most brutal victims of child pornography are uprooted children

I just take an example from the awkward area of child pornography. It must be clear to all of us what is happening here, that these are not just pictures or movies, those are recordings of real deeds. Nothing more than recordings of crimes against children down to the present day. The time will come, when you can produce such things by technical means and then it is no longer possible to distinguish whether it is a real action or not. But today we have to assume that each single product is a recording of a real act. This is, incidentally, the main aim of all investigation. In the area of children’s pornography, in the most brutal products uprooted children are in constant demand. We could observe this during the Tsunami on Christmas 2004. The clean-up operation had still been far from complete, as the so-called paedo-scene came into the country and lashed into the orphaned children left by the natural disaster. 2010 in Haiti happened the same. Today, in the whole world there are still a lot of children who have been kidnapped in the aftermath of those events. The same phenomenon occurred in Nepal, at the beginning of 2015: suddenly orphanages arose en masse after the  earthquakes, and just  they realised that these homes were created exactly where children’s sex tourists lived. Hence many of these orphanages were nothing more than children’s brothels. Let me remind you: I return to the missing refugee children. The most brutal kind of child pornography assumably has been produced in the Soviet Union, the successor states of the Soviet Union. The children affected and other circumstances indicate this. Why? There are millions of urchins in these cities, not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, about whom nobody cares when they disappear. Precisely these children that are on demand, and there they surely will become victims. You can take this for granted!

Sad record for Germany

Long ago the paedo-scene has realised, the children are in our country, they are helpless, they are abandoned. Of course not all. Some may look for relatives. Anyway, the circumstances nearly provoke victimisation processes, that victims and also perpetrators are being made here. A sad record for Germany, but I think we must address them openly, we must also fight against them. To my initials back: Children can not do it on their own, we all, we adults, have an obligation. Thank you very much.    •

*lecture, delivered during the September talks of “Mut zur Ethik”, 2 September 2016

(Translation Current Concerns)

Manfred Paulus (picture ma)

Manfred Paulus, first detective chief superintendent and now retired, was for 25 years until his retirement head of the unit for combating sexual crime and red light criminality of the criminal investigation department in Ulm. He has many years of experience in the field of trafficing of women and children and pedophilia. He has also worked internationally in Thailand, Belarus and South-East Europe. Manfred Paulus is a lecturer and speaker on these topics and a proven expert who knows the scene well.
In 2003, when he retired, he finished his service with the criminal investigation department; but his commitment to trafficking in women, prostitution and organized crime remains unbroken. He regularly performs preventive work, e.g. in Belarus or the Republic of Moldava. In May this year, he travelled to Romania to inform the students at schools in Timisoara and Arad: Paulus explains the tricks of the pimps, smugglers and traffickers to sensitize them to the dangers.

Manfred Paulus is a textbook author of numerous publications on crime prevention, including “Kinderfreunde – Kindermörder” (2002) and “Grünkram – die Kindersex-Mafia in Deutschland” (1998), both together with Adolf Gallwitz, “Menschenhandel” (2014). In 2016, his latest book was published “Im Schatten des Rotlichts – Verbrechen hinter glitzernden Fassaden”.