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What types of child sexual offenders are there?


Preferential child sex offenders have a sexual preference for children. As a medical diagnosis, “pedophilia” is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty varies). Mental health studies suggest that their obsession for immature and powerless sexual partners is the manifestation of a personality disorder. Preferential offenders can be divided into “Seducers”, “Introverted” and “Sadistic”:

  • “Seducers” use affection, attention and/or gifts to lure children. They are willing to spend long periods “grooming” their victims in preparation for the abuse and use threats, blackmail and/or physical violence to discourage disclosure. However, the techniques used by offenders to silence their victims will essentially depend on the age of the child, the time when the abuse started, how long it has continued, who the offender is, the family situation of the child, and other similar circumstances.

  • “Introverted” offenders have a preference for children but lack the seducer’s ability to interact with children. They engage in a minimum amount of verbal communication with victims and tend to abuse unknown or very young children.

  • “Sadistic” offenders, least common ones, who have a sexual interest in children, but also derive sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on their victim. This type of offender is most likely to use force to gain access to the child and is more likely to abduct and even murder the victim.


The situational child sex offender does not have a true sexual preference for children but engages in sex with children because he/she is morally and or sexually indiscriminate and wishes to “experiment” with young sex partners. Such offenders may also exploit children because they have entered into situations in which a child is easily accessible to them and/or certain disinhibiting factors are present which allow them to delude themselves about the child’s age or consent to the sexual activity. Sexual exploitation of children may be a “once in a lifetime act” while on a holiday, or it may develop into a long-term pattern of abuse.


“Brokers” and other abuse facilitators are also child sex offenders, even if they don’t have a sexual preference for children themselves. The shift in modus operandi has been towards delivering a child for sexual services directly to the customer as per a pre-arrangement and using an intermediary or broker to control the child. Brokers can be from different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, particularly those having some form of contact with tourists. These can be taxi drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers, hotel staff, tour guides, or Internet cafe managers. In some instances, children act as agents themselves.

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