Grooming: A sexual offense that is still not illegal

Rafael Nuñez - Grooming

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Grooming is the connection an adult makes with a child, through texting, social media, or personally in order to gain their trust. All of this, with the purpose of sexual abuse, child trafficking, or sexual exploitation.

There is an alarming number of cases of adults contacting young boys and girls through the internet and social media to be victims of grooming. And even when police departments receive many cases of grooming daily, it is not considered a reason of persecution in many countries.

One of those cases, is Molly’s story. A 15-year-old girl that started receiving sexual messages from an “online friend” after he found her number on Facebook. Here’s her story:

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“Gavin* added me as a friend on Facebook and I didn’t think anything of it as he was friends with my brother and my dad too and we often saw his family. He got my telephone number off Facebook and started texting me too.”

Gavin started telling Molly she was pretty and that he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

His messages started to get more sexual too and he would tell me he was talking to me from his bed. One morning, he told me that he was masturbating while thinking about me. It was gross as he knew how young I was.

“I think a change in the law would help a lot of young people who are receiving sexual messages from adults.”

As well as Molly, there many other children living experiences like this, and it is almost impossible to think that for many countries, this is not punishable by law.

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In 2016 only, a Police Department in Scotland reported 1.122 offences of “Meeting a Child Following Sexual Grooming” a number that should worry all of us.

This is a call out to all the governments around the world to take action on this serious matter, and to finally penalize a crime that is growing strong. Grooming is a crime and it has to be stopped and punished.