Now that Amazon.com has bowed to public pressure and withdrawn The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child Lover’s Code of Conduct from sale, it is time for us to ask why they would ever consider selling such an item on their website in the first place. Even more surprising is the fact that this is not the first time that Amazon has sold items that support child abuse.
The withdrawal came after Amazon was inundated by people expressing their disgust through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Loud and clear people called for a boycott of the company.
In a bizarre arguement that appeared to defend a paedophile’s rights to offend over the right’s of their potential victims, Amazon released a statement defending its decision to sell the book.
“Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions”.
Amazon.com states that it does not allow “pornography and hardcore material that depicts graphic sexual acts.” However they do not seem to be sticking to their own guidelines. It is perplexing that they should think that by invoking the anti-censorship catchphrase they can somehow defend child abuse.
Melinda Tankard-Reist an advocate for the protection of children and Generation Next speaker told the ABC “The promotion of sexual abuse of children should be met with zero tolerance. Children’s rights to safety outweigh a pedophile defender’s ‘right to free speech.’ This book does more than promote, it falls in the legal category of ‘child abuse materials’.”
She went on to say “The laws in Australia are aimed against not only ‘child pornography’ but against the wider category of ‘child abuse material’. As this instruction manual for child abuse is an e- book, it could fall under the prohibition against using a carriage service to access child abuse materials. So this book could be actionable under Australian law.”
According to CNBC, child safety organisations have found other material on the website that contains morally reprehensible material.
It seems that since 2002, Amazon has sold many items deemed inappropriate including the book Understanding Loved Boys and Boy Lovers. Last year they sold a video game called RapeLay in which players stalked and raped a mother and her daughters. Critics of Amazon say many of the videos sold on their site openly feature nude and underage girls.
Child advocates are calling for the resignation of chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos for allowing Amazon.com to sell such titles.
“Amazon’s history of blatant disregard and complete inhumanity toward child victims is evidence that Amazon needs serious leadership and policy changes,” says Eva Montibello, executive director of Protect Mass Children, an organisation aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse.
“The fact that this book and other unacceptable literature is, or was available through Amazon is totally unacceptable and quite possibly a violation of Marsha’s law for harbouring and distributing images of child pornography.”
Masha’s Law is an American federal statute that was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and signed into law as part of the Adam Walsh Act of 2007. It increases the civil penalties for creating, distributing, downloading and possessing child pornography on the Internet.
Mary Kay Hoal, founder of Yoursphere.com, a social networking and Internet safety information site for parents said “It should be the obligation of every digital content and online community provider to abide by a moral and ethical code of conduct that protects children first and puts profit second. If it’s not OK to happen to children in the physical world, it shouldn’t be okay online. Shame on Amazon.”