Last year on this blog I published photos of 40 men arrested in central Florida for buying sex with children.
The uncle of one of the men recently left a comment about that post. You can read it here; scroll to the end of the post and look for the June 23, 2013, comment posted by Cliff.I agree with part of what Cliff wrote. Some of these cases have gone to trial and he is correct that I should remove the pictures of the men who've been acquitted, such as his nephew. Since I don't have time to check into the 39 other cases to see who was acquitted and who was convicted, I'm removing all the names and photos.
I do not, however, agree with some of the other things Cliff wrote in his comment. Many people unfortunately believe as he does so I'm answering some of his points here. I've also asked one of my colleagues to respond; he's an investigator working in vice and organized crime. His comments follow mine.
Thank you for your heartfelt comment about your nephew. You are correct that his picture should no longer be on my blog if he's been acquitted. I'm removing it, and since I don't have time to check into the 39 other cases, I'm removing all the photos.
I do not, however, agree with some of the other things you wrote and I'd like to address them.
You say these are not violent crimes. I disagree. A 6 year old who is sold for sex over and over, and raped for profit 30 or 40 times a night, would also disagree. Perhaps you don't know what these children and teenagers go through -- brutal torture, rape, abuse, control, and more from both the buyers and sellers, often to the point of death. Child trafficking is absolutely a violent crime. It is the height of violence -- and what we are trying to stop at Born2Fly.
The fact that a seller told a buyer to "ask for ID" is a
little irrelevant when they are expecting to meet a 14 year old.
You asked, "What innocent teen advertises for sex on a Craigs list adults only website?" insinuating that the teens themselves are at fault. The advertisers are not the teens themselves but the traffickers who hold these kids in bondage.
Do you really think a 12 year old is advertising herself on Craigslist and setting up appointments for herself? This is organized crime. The adults who place ads to sell children are at fault. Craigslist is at fault for accepting their ads. Anyone who responds to these ads is at fault.
You also noted, "The only predators here are the sheriffs deputies hoping for some air time on a TV show."
Just this past weekend I was in a meeting where an undercover investigator, who could have been on that sting, spoke to young people. Believe me, he is not out for glory or publicity as you suggest. He is a father of young children himself. He was speaking to high school and middle school students warning them about online predators, and also warning them not to do anything foolish themselves.
This was on a Saturday, by the way. He was, I'm sure, doing this on his own time.
I know your family is hurting but please understand that these investigators are doing a service by keeping true predators away from our children. These men showed up to have sex with children, whatever the reason.
I've asked a colleague of mine to respond to you also. He is an undercover investigator who works in vice and organized crime:
"Yes, the men were acquitted, however, it does not replace the fact that these men went to the place to meet a child for sex.
"The things I see haunt me and it is unthinkable that they are happening to someone's little girl or boy. I have very little sympathy for johns that fuel the demand that ultimately lead to the exploitation of the most vulnerable."
At Born2Fly we will continue working to stop child trafficking, sellers of children, and buyers of children.