Pedophile movement

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The modern pedophile movement was started in the Netherlands by Frits Bernard in the late 1950s. In the 1970s, the movement made temporary progress towards its goals in continental Western Europe, particularly in the Netherlands[1][2], although at that time the North American Man/Boy Love Association was also a leading activist group; with allies from within the gay rights movement. Pro-pedophile activism waned in many countries in the 1980s.

During this period pedophile membership groups campaigned for the promotion of a wider acceptance of pedophilia[3] and "normalization" of sexual activities involving adults and children, legalizing such activities by lowering or abolishing age of consent laws.[4]

Previously, pedophile groups had expressed their advocacy through periodicals such as the Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia (1987–1995) and through membership organizations such as the Danish Pedophile Association and the North American Man/Boy Love Association.[5][6]

The pedophile movement declined during the 1990s, and today has public presence through a few websites and internet discussion forums.[7]

The beginning

Psychologist and sexologist Dr. Frits Bernard has stated that he and others formed the Enclave kring ("Enclave circle") in Den Haag, the Netherlands in the 1950s. [8] They built upon pre-1940 member information of the surviving Dutch branch of German Magnus Hirschfeld's sexologist Wissenschaftlich-Humanitäres Komitee (WHK) (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee) provided by former WHK member Arent von Santhorst (see interview with Bernard led by ethnologist and political scientist Dr. Joachim S. Hohmann [9]). Bernard, through this Dutch WHK connection, built upon contacts he had established in 1940 for the same purpose with Dutch WHK president, donzel Dr. J. A. Schorer and sexologist Dr. Benno Premsela. Bernard apparently was aware that the German WHK along with its international organization Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, ("Institute for Sexuology"), had published articles on adult-minor sexual interactions prior to 1933. [8] However the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 prevented any further co-operation until the end of World War II [8] (one of the very first German occupation regulations in the Netherlands was public declaration of enforcement of German Penal Code sections 175 regarding same-sex activities and 176 regarding adult-child sex interactions in Verordnungsblatt Nr. 81 dating July 31st 1940 [10]), WHK members von Santhorst and Bob Angelo (alias Niek Engelschman, later a pedophile activist) had destroyed all Dutch WHK documents to prevent Nazi investigations [9], and member information was re-constructed after the war by von Santhorst in order to form the Enclave kring. [9]

The Enclave kring, as built upon the pre-war Dutch WHK model, defined itself as a 'movement' consisting of 'institutions and organizations' [8] serving purposes such as: 'to break down prejudice about the issues of erotic contacts and relationships between minors and adults, and to provide information and advice as well as to initiate a direct assistance program'. [8] A publishing company of the same name serving these purposes was founded in 1958. [8] According to Bernard [8], the Enclave kring developed into an international organization (gaining support in Western Europe, New York, Japan, and Hongkong, and Bernard himself made lecture tours in some of these places [8]), and results of these efforts of the Enclave kring included more positive feedback about pedophile activism in various publications independent from the Enclave kring such as the Dutch Vriendschap ("Friendship", published since 1859), German Der Weg zu Freundschaft und Toleranz ("A way to friendship and tolerance"), Danish Amigo, and Dutch Verstandig Ouderschap ("Reasonable parenthood") by the 1960s.[8]

1970s pedophile activism

Sex met kinderen and its consequences

In 1972, Bernard published the book Sex met kinderen ("Sex with children", published not by the Enclave kring but the independent Dutch sexual reform organisation NVSH). [8] The book outlined the history of the Enclave kring and international research in adult-child sexual interaction, partly spawned by the activism of the Enclave kring, partly independent from it, up to that point. According to Bernard citing historian Dr. E. O. Born, this book 'had an [public] effect throughout Europe and abroad'. [8] It laid the foundation for the 1970s pedophile activism movement in Western Europe (among other sources for the significance of Sex met kinderen see [8] or German excerpt of Baurmann's criminological study published by the German Federal Criminal Police Office in 1983 (English translation of its original conclusions summary) where Baurmann supported Bernard's 'preliminary and cautious' conclusions).

In the 1970s, most organized pedophile activity was centered in the Netherlands and to a lesser degree in Western Europe. Here, a number of researchers, among them Bernard, social psychologist Theo Sandfort, lawyer and politician Edward Brongersma and psychiatrist Frans Gieles, wrote a significant number of papers on the topic, both from theoretical and practical standpoints. A number of papers were produced discussing the effects of adult-child sexual interactions. The data for these papers came mainly from analyzing pedophiles, but also from adults and young people who, as children or adolescents, had been involved in sexual relationships with adults. In a 1988 interview [11], Bernard said that up to that point he himself as part of his psychological work, also as an authorized expert witness in a number of court cases, had talked to and analyzed 'more than a thousand pedophile adults and about three-thousand children and adolescents who had had [sexual] contacts with adults'.

1979 Dutch petition

On June 22nd 1979, a petition along with a letter of the same content was sent to the Dutch minister of justice and simultaneously was brought before the Dutch parliament, both petition and letter demanding legalization of mutual sexual activities between children and pedophile adults. This petition was authored by the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (NVSH), the Coornhert League for Penal Law Reform, the Humanitarian Confederation, and 'radio priest' A. Klamer. It was signed by a number of social welfare and public mental health organizations, including[10]

  • the General Probation Association,
  • the Netherlands Association for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC),
  • the official Netherlands Feminism Association,
  • unanimously the executives of the Labor Party (the party with the greatest number of members),
  • unanimously the executives of four smaller political parties that then had representatives in the Dutch Lower House (which were the Democratic Socialist party, the Pacifist Socialist party, the Democratic party, and the Radical party),

As Jan Schuijer writes, "apparently alarmed by the success of the petition" the section of child and youth psychiatry of The Netherlands Society for Psychiatry publicly opposed the demands for decriminalization saying it would undermine parental authority. [12]

Last progress

In 1980, the COC, the largest gay association in the Netherlands, publicly declared pedophilia a gay issue [13], and that gay liberation would never be complete without liberation of children and pedophiles. From 1979 through 1981, the very last positive progress of pedophile activism in the Western world was achieved when the Dutch Protestant Foundation for Responsible Family Development (PSVG) sold and distributed tens of thousands of copies of a booklet entitled Pedophilia originally illustrated with photos to Dutch elementary schools. [14]

Decline of the movement

In the late 1970s, the center of activity briefly shifted to the United States and the United Kingdom with the 1974 formed Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in Scotland (later based in London), and the 1978 formation of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) in Boston. Both of these groups achieved relative notoriety in the early 1980s due to a public outcry against them. In an aforementioned 1988 interview, Bernard credited this to severely aggressive and radical behaviour of pedophile activism outside of continental Europe [11], while on the other hand regretting significant ignorance in sexual matters in general in the US.[11] The PIE capitulated to public pressure and disbanded in 1985, however NAMBLA continued to exist.[15]

On February 5th 1987, Bernard appeared as special guest invited by NBC Television on the Phil Donahue live show (regularly broadcasted via 250 TV channels in the US and Canada) and freely advocated pedophile activism for one hour straight, supported by a 23 year old male who as a child had been involved in a sexual relationship with an adult. [11] This was significant as 1987 was a date when pedophile activism already was increasingly under public attack compared to the 1970s situation in Western Europe.

In the 1980s, a number of other pedophile advocacy groups were created. The most significant of these were MARTIJN (1982), situated in the Netherlands, and the Danish Pedophile Association (DPA) (1985). This was followed in the early 1990s by the formation of Ipce (then the "International Pedophile and Child Emancipation," IPCE), an umbrella organization for pedophile activist groups. Although MARTIJN and Ipce continued to function, DPA disbanded in early 2004 due to socio-political pressure and lack of support from other parties.

Post-1982, the situation in continental Western Europe (ignorant of the 1977 public campaigns against child pornography led in Anglo-American countries) in an activism context did not appear as heated as it did meanwhile in English-speaking countries. Formerly active pedophile activist organizations did not get significant negative public press that would stick in collective memory but just seemed to lose interest in maintaining their public activities any longer so the issue mostly retreated from public awarement. Furthermore, Bernard (born in 1920) retired from his occupation as a psychologist, as an expert witness, and from all of his offices in international organizations in 1985. [11] Even earlier, the number of NVSH members drastically decreased below that of 10,000 (at times it had had up to 240,000 members) yielding a serious financial crisis. [14] A reason to be skeptical concerning Mrazek's claim that Sandfort's 1987 study was "politically motivated" just because members of the NVSH had supported it.

Meanwhile, changes in executive began to take shape. In spite of the fact that in the Netherlands increasingly emerging feminist and victim organizations as well as juvenile police units still supported decriminalization in 1982 [12], Dutch police (such as Hans Heesters of the Amsterdam police's youth and moral bureau) and law officials were increasingly educated in the USA by the FBI on "FBI methods of tracking down the supposed makers and collectors of child pornography" (virtually and effectively "guidelines [that] target those who engage in sexual contacts with underage minors"). [12] In 1989, then-resident Dutch minister of justice Korthals Althes publicly stated that weekly meetings on these matters with the FBI and British government had been established since 1985. [14] Since 1984, the US Congress and the US Senate (via the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs which at that time led by Republican William Roth used to forge and disseminate such allegations through US and international press channels) had continuously accused the Netherlands of ranking "among the most important exporters of child pornography to the US" and that children would be publicly auctioned in Amsterdam for prostitution and pornography but all these allegations proved "unsustainable" "after a serious investigation", the final report (published in August 1986) of Workgroup child-pornography established by minister of justice Altes himself. [12] [14]

During the same time, public morals concerning sexual matters were affected negatively by the discovery of HIV and AIDS, reverting social achievements of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. "Pedophile emancipation is no fun for me anymore. The virus has destroyed everything", wrote German activist Wolfgang Tomasek in 1988. [16]

In 1994, the International Lesbian and Gay Association was granted consultative member status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and soon the United States (including President Bill Clinton himself) publicly threatened to cancel its annual financial contributions of US$1 Million to the UN because ILGA had four pronouncedly pedophile activist member groups: NAMBLA, Martijn, US-based Project TRUTH, and German Verein für Sexuelle Gleichberechtigung (VSG, "Association for Sexual Equality"). As a result, the UN status of ILGA was suspended, ILGA expelled all four organizations, and suddenly German Bundesverband Homosexualität (BVH, "National Homosexuality Association") called for international protests on ILGA for expelling these groups in spite of the fact that BVH never before had been observed as sympathizing with pedophile activism. [17][18][14]

The primary medium for pedophile advocacy turned in the mid-90s to the internet. In 1995, BoyChat, a message board for "boylovers", was established. In 1997, participants on BoyChat and other online resources formed Free Spirits, an umbrella organization with the mission of raising money and providing secure Internet hosting services. The Montreal Ganymede Collective was formed in Montreal by Free Spirits members in 1998 as a forum for "boylovers" to meet in the real world. In early 2001, the first "boylove" broadcast media source, Sure Quality Internet Radio, was founded by Jeffrey Gold in Florida, USA.

In Germany, the Krumme 13 organization, founded in 1993 and dissolved in 2003, stirred up massive mostly negative press coverage in the years 2001 through 2005. In 2005, won a penal court case that a textual depiction of a love relationship between an eleven-year-old boy and a thirty-year-old man in the Pedosexual Resources Directory was not child pornography.

Arguments for promoting acceptance

Reviewing the literature published by pedophile organizations for public dissemination, a few arguments used by activists have been noted by researchers:

  • The idea that children can consent to sexual activity with adults. The reconceptualization of children as willing sexual participants along with the decriminalization of consensual sexual relations is perhaps the key change sought by pedophile advocates, as stated by Tom O'Carroll, in his book Paedophilia: The Radical Case.
  • Questioning the assumption of harm. Numerous pro-pedophile advocacy groups have quoted the Rind study in support of their efforts to lower or rescind age of consent laws, and defense attorneys have used the study to argue for minimizing harm in child sexual abuse cases.[19]
  • Attempts to declassify pedophilia as a mental illness. For example, Richard Green argued [20] that pedophilia should be removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
  • Historical anthropological references. Edward Brongersma referred to ancient Greece, and 19th century French Polynesia, situations in which adult-child sex interactions were not illegal.[10]
  • Links of pedophile advocacy with other minority activism. This argument was advocated by Harris Mirkin.[21] and Camille Paglia. Some pedophiles use the term "pedosexual", positing that pedophilia should be seen as a distinct sexual orientation as with homosexuality and heterosexuality.[10]
  • Pointing to juvenile sexual activity in animals. An example of this is advocates referring to the bonobo monkeys, where sexual touching of infants (described by activists as infant-initiated) is described by some researchers as part of the bonobo's everyday life.

See also

Advocate groups

  • Danish Pedophile Association (or DPA Gruppe 04)
  • Dutch Society for Sexual Reform[22]
  • Krumme 13
  • North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)
  • Paedophile Information Exchange
  • Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia
  • Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid & Diversiteit
  • René Guyon Society
  • Vereniging MARTIJN


  1. ↑
  2. ↑ Brongersma, Edward (1988). "Schutzalter 12 Jahre? - Sex mit Kindern in der niederländischen Gesetzgebung ("Age of Consent 12 years? Dutch legislation on sex with children")", in Leopardi, Angelo: Der pädosexuelle Komplex ("On the topic of pedosexuality") (in German). Frankfurt/Main, Germany: Foerster Verlag, 212. ISBN 3-922257-66-6.
  3. ↑ The Dutch Paedophile Emancipation Movement. Dr. Frits Bernard. Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia, volume 1, number 2, Autumn 1987, p. 35-4.
  4. ↑ "The Case for Abolishing the Age of Consent Laws," an editorial from NAMBLA News (1980), reproduced in We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. Ed. by Mark Blasius and Shane Phelan. London: Routledge, 1997. pgs. 459-67.
  5. ↑ "Deviance and the family." Domna C. Hagan and Marvin B. Sussman, 1988. Haworth Press.
  6. ↑ "Boy Crazy." Benoit Denizet-Lewis, 2001. Boston Magazine.
  7. ↑ "Social interactions among paedophiles." Pierre Trembley, 2002.
  8. ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 Script error
  9. ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Script error
  10. ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Script error
  11. ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Script error
  12. ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Script error
  13. ↑ "Boy Relationships: Different Concepts for a Diversity of Phenomena." Theo Sandfort, 1990. Journal of Homosexuality, volume 20
  14. ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Pädophilie ohne Grenzen ("Anti-authoritarian pedophilia")." Frits Bernard, 1997. Foerster Verlag. Frankfurt/Main, Germany. ISBN 3-922257-83-6.
  15. ↑ A 2005 newspaper article quoted an undercover police officer as saying that, in 1995, NAMBLA had about 1,100 members. Soto, "FBI Targets Pedophilia Advocates," San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 18, 2005.
  16. ↑ "Der pädosexuelle Komplex ("On the topic of pedosexuality")." Wolfang Tomasek, 1988. Ed. by Angelo Leopardi. Foerster Verlag. Frankfurt/Main, Germany. ISBN 3-922257-66-6.
  17. ↑ "Expulsion of organizations marked as pedophile from ILGA."
  18. ↑ "Vereniging Martijn."
  19. ↑ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named spiegel
  20. ↑ Is pedophilia a mental disorder?
  21. ↑ Mirkin, Harris. "The Pattern of Sexual Politics: Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia." Journal of Homosexuality. 37.2 (1999), 1-24.
  22. ↑ Paedophilia NVSH website

External links


  • Hohmann, Joachim S. ed. (1982). Pädophilie heute ("Pedophila today", in German). Foerster Verlag, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. - * Leopardi, Angelo ed. (1988). Der pädosexuelle Komplex ("On the topic of pedosexuality", in German). Foerster Verlag, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.
  • Protestantse Stichting voor Verantwoorde Gezinsvorming, (1981). Pedophilia. PSVG, The Netherlands.