An investigation has found that several notorious child-sex offenders of Britain are using online platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter to rebrand themselves as ‘Minor-Attracted Persons’. Through these social media sites, they are also trying to re-categorize pedophilia as a harmless sexual preference.
As per the findings of the investigation, every day hundreds of social accounts are being set referring to both potential and prolific abusers as “MAPs” – Minor-Attracted Persons. The rebranding is reportedly an attempt by them to detach themselves from the “stigma” attached to the word pedophile. The report has claimed that anonymous users have also come up with their own rainbow “MAP Pride” flag, with some even arguing that they should be celebrated as a niche group alongside the LGBT community.
Not just that, the anonymous users have also created their slogan just like the LGBT community. Some of those slogans are, “#MAPPride” and “#Mappositivity”, reportedly seen as an aim to present pedophilia as part of society’s wider move towards sexual freedom. The unidentified users have posted memes online proclaiming “Gay MAPs are amazing” and cartoon characters saying, “Repost if you think maps should be able to date minors.” One such account was @SandMapMinorva, which has now been suspended. The message posted on that account read: “Minor-attraction is natural.”
Besides, the investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that for the profile image of these anonymous accounts, the users are using cartoon avatars rather than photographs. Most of them have mentioned the ages of children they are attracted to and it goes to as low as “two to seven”. “They are a fiendish group of sub-humans and they will find no haven in the LGBTQ community. We utterly rebuke their delusional and evil claims,” Otep Shamaya, a gay rights campaigner, said.
However, this is not the first time such type of campaign has started online. According to reports, in the 1970s and 80s, the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) campaign was there that took advantage of the gay liberation movement at the time to push for pro-child abuse policies, such as lowering the age of consent to just four. It has also been said that the current propaganda has chilling echoes of the PIE that happened decades ago.
Though the PIE campaign was dissolved in 1984, the investigation by the newspaper has found out that its former chairman, Tom O’Carroll, is still active and is using social sites to argue for the legalization of pedophilia. In one “interview”, which is still on YouTube, Britain’s most notorious pedophile campaigner – O’Carroll – has claimed that a sexual relationship between an adult and a child is similar to a relationship between a child and the mother. Along with YouTube, O’Carroll also uses his WordPress blog to work towards the legalization of sex with children. However, the report said that WordPress had suspended his blogs.
The report stated that some academics are also supporting these kinds of campaigns as they believe pedophiles’ voices should be heard. One such academic is Dr Craig Harper, senior lecturer in psychology at Nottingham Trent University, who signed a 2018 letter written to Twitter demanding retrieval of pedophile accounts that were taken down. Harper stated that “pedophilia and child abuse are not the same things” and “pedophilia is a sexual attraction pattern that shares common features with other sexual orientations”.
Meanwhile, child sex abuse survivor Jacqui Dillon, who runs the Beck Road Alliance online support network, said: “This is absurd and dangerous. Twitter and other corporations are now providing pedophiles with access to children online.”
While Twitter responded that it had “zero tolerance for any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation”.