Argentina: Paradise for child sexual abusers

Argentina’s weak anti-child pornography legislation provides gateway for internet child pornography in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, November 8, 2011—The U.S. State Department recently reported that child pornographers exploit or force more than 5,000 children per year into the sex tourism trade in Argentina. Though Argentine authorities fail to keep track of national statistics on child pornography, many isolated cases confirm that the estimation of the U.S. State Department isn’t far from the truth.

Just a few days ago, police also arrested a 50 year-old man for allegedly exploiting a boy for child pornography. The man, using the cover of a math tutoring session, initially lured the victim with high paying modeling jobs. When the victim accepted the man’s offer for a modeling job, the man offered more money to the child to show his genitals and engage in other nudity shots.

Last month, the Argentine police arrested nine individuals involved in an international pedophile ring. The arrests came about after police received a tip from Interpol Germany. Authorities confiscated 25 computers, thousands of CDs and videotapes, magazines, and documentary evidence of pedophile chat rooms during the raid.

In some cases, infants from rural areas are sold to brothels where they are raised to the age of five at which time the brothel owners use the child as a pornographic subject. Police discovered that child pornography produced in Argentina is distributed internationally.

Argentina’s anti-child pornography law is inadequate to address the crime. Although Argentine law prohibits the distribution and production of child pornography, it fails to forbid anyone from possessing, importing, exporting, selling, or offering child pornographic material. Also, the law does not punish those distributing child pornography through Internet or other virtual means of communication.

Even when police arrest someone for distributing or producing child pornography, there is rarely justice for the child victim. According to Adoptar, if parents fail to prove the abuse of their children, police can only detain the pedophile for 48 hours. If the parents fail to prove the abuse after attempting legal recourses, they can face civil liability or criminal charges for libeling the pedophile. The system hinders many parents from pursuing legal remedies for their children’ rights against pedophiles.

What’s more, when a person is convicted of distributing or producing child pornography, he or she faces a very light penalty. A distributor of child pornography can face up to 15 year prison sentence in the U.S. But, some child pornographers get away with serving as little as six months in prison for the same crime in Argentina.

But research shows that the culture of sexual exploitation of children must change in Argentina along with the legal system. According to UNICEF, local Argentines, rather than, foreigners, accounts for majority of child molesters in the country. A reliable media source also reports that many Argentine men consider sex with minors exotic rather than exploitive.

Youngbee Dale is a freelance writer, researcher, and human rights advocate. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter


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Youngbee Dale

Youngbee Dale graduated from Regent University with Master’s degree in International Politics in 2009. While at Regent, she interned at World Bank and co-contributed to a human trafficking publication, “Setting the Captives Free” by Olivia McDonald (2007). She also worked with migrant workers and human trafficking victims in South Korea. Currently, she stays home with her three-month-old son to exercise the divine rights to mother and breastfeed him. 

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