Police in Florida arrested 28 men in another undercover operation aimed at catching sexual predators, FoxNews reported on April 2.
Officers posed as 13-and 14-year-old girls and boys in online chatrooms and agreed to rendezvous with the pedophiles. The sting lasted only four days but it was long enough for police to be in contact with more than 250 men.
“We arrested people in BMWs, in Mercedes, in rental cars, Disney employees, Boys and Girls Club employees, vice presidents of a big corporation,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told FOXNews in an interview. “Every walk of life, we put them in jail.”
The FoxNews article profiles the predators as pedophiles, which makes it easy for the reader to dismiss these men as monsters. But is anyone asking how they got to the point that they would drive to an unknown location to have sex with a 13-year-old?
It is easy to quickly categorize these men as disturbed perverts in need of therapy rather then asking the question of why so many are doing this. It seems that our newspapers and TV shows are over run with stories of such child exploitation throughout the country. TV specials such as Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator,” show a variety of sting operations suggesting that there aren’t enough hours in the day to capture all the men who would use teenagers for sex.
Can we continue to write such men off as pedophiles? Or is there a greater force leading them in this exploitation? Yes, pedophiles exist and victimize our children, but there is another side to this crisis that few want to acknowledge — A cultural normalization of a sex industry that presents little girls and boys as sexual commodities. The marketing is aimed at all men. Why are people surprised when such advertising works and average men want to buy the advertised product?
Perhaps there needs to be a societal outcry against these norms rather then simply shunning those that happen to walk through the door of a sting operation.