America has a serious problem. Around 800,000 kids are reported missing every year. Pedophile rings run rampant nationwide. Pedophiles are pumping “priming” content onto YouTube for kids to see. Don’t believe me? Just last week, 120 sex traffickers were arrested and 84 children saved by the FBI – one of the busts involved a 3-month old! Last winter, 474 were arrested and 28 children were saved in California. As for the YouTube danger, just search for “Elsagate.” I’m not going to go any further there.
Why do pedophilia and youth sex trafficking seem to be growing? I think offenders are not faced with serious-enough consequences. Faced with only jail time, and often pleaded down to 10 years or not much more, offenders are not really deterred. Add to that the apparent profitability of sex trafficking and child pornography and offenders are willing to risk it.
How can we solve this problem? I have a hunch that significantly increasing the penalties around pedophilia and sex trafficking can help. Here are my proposals for first offenses:
- Sexual assault of a minor: Death penalty
- Sex trafficking of a minor: Death penalty
- Any involvement in the production of child pornography: Death penalty
- Any involvement in the propagation of child pornography: Death penalty
- Conspiracy to any of the above: Life in prison
- Viewing/possessing child pornography: Life in prison
While I am a states rights person and normally am inclined to leave capital punishment up to the states, the intra- and international nature of pedophile rings suggests that updating the federal penalties might be necessary. Also, these crimes amount to minors being deprived of their Constitutional liberties. It’s also likely that states without these stiff penalties would become relative safe havens for pedophiles. That said, states should also be adopting these strict penalties. Florida, Louisiana, and Montana already have laws on the books to this effect. I do not believe that the death penalty is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, i.e. cruel and unusual punishment, as long as the execution methods are humane and not vengeful. While Coker v. Georgia ruled that the death penalty for rape was unconstitutional, it did not address the idea of rape and trafficking of minors which I think most would agree is more severe of a crime than rape of an adult.
Without stricter penalties and sentences, frustrated citizens are likely to take matters into their own hands. Just take a look at Justin Payne of Toronto who has taken on the task of publicly exposing and shaming pedophiles. There’s also Veterans for Child Rescue who are working to expose pedophiles and save children. If the problem doesn’t get better soon, it won’t be long before citizens start organizing vigilante groups to track down and stop pedophiles and sex traffickers by any means necessary. Let’s try to avoid this lawlessness – introduce the death penalty for these crimes and life in prison for parties to them.
What do you think? Would introducing the death penalty for pedophiles and sex traffickers reduce the prevalence of these crimes?