MPs want to criminalize possession, distribution of pedophile handbook
The Tweede Kamer is in favor of criminalizing the possession and distribution of pedophile manuals. Both coalition and opposition parties find it “disgusting” that instructions for sexually abusing children and avoiding punishment are being circulated. The bill from Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security can count on support. But both the coalition and opposition have concerns about the enforceability of the law.
The police and Public Prosecution Service (OM) have already announced that tracking down distributors and owners of pedophile handbooks is not a priority. Various factions, including coalition partner D66, have great difficulty with this.
“This is not a symbolic law,” Yeşilgöz-Zegerius tried to reassure the concerned Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament. “The law will be enforced.” She acknowledged that the police’s capacity is not in order and that more sex crime detectives need to be appointed. “But if the law is in place, the police can take websites offline.” That isn’t possible at the moment.
D66 parliamentarian Hanneke van der Werf believes that the Minister should commit more firmly and demand that the police recruit sufficient sex crime detectives. The PvdA and SP, among others, are also not reassured.
The Minister defended the importance of the bill. It enables the authorities to “take action against potential child abuse at a very early age.” The law also has a normative effect, she said. “The law underlines that this kind of act is not accepted in our society.” Yeşilgöz-Zegerius called child sex abuse “one of the most devastating forms of crime” that must be dealt with harshly.
Pedophile handbooks contain instructions on how to seduce children, make the child keep a secret, and avoid DNA and other trace evidence during sexual contact. Child advocacy organizations estimate that approximately 12 such manuals are circulating online, mainly via the dark web, and have been exchanged about 100,000 times among child sex abusers and potential abusers.
Under Yeşilgöz-Zegerius’s bill, people who possess or distribute such pedophile manuals can face up to four years in prison or a fine of up to 90,000 euros. As far as PVV parliamentarian Lilian Helder is concerned, the prison sentence should be higher.
The Tweede Kamer will vote on the bill next week Tuesday.
Reporting by ANP