A child abuse expert is warning TSA security officials to not use a common technique to persuade children to submit to the enhanced pat downs by telling them it’s a game. Apparently that is a common ploy used by child sex predators.
Ken Wooden, the founder of a group called Child Lures Prevention, was interviewed by Raw Story:
“Children ‘don’t have the sophistication’ to distinguish between a pat-down carried out by an airport security officer and an assault by a sexual predator, he said.
“The TSA policy could ‘desensitize children to inappropriate touch and ultimately make it easier for sexual offenders to prey on our children,’ Wooden added.
“Wooden, who has testified before Congress on child safety issues on numerous occasions, says he was told by a TSA agent that the practice has been used.
“‘How can experts working at the TSA be so incredibly misinformed and misguided to suggest that full body pat downs for children be portrayed as a game?’ Wooden asked in an email. ‘To do so is completely contrary to what we in the sexual abuse prevention field have been trying to accomplish for the past thirty years.’
“He added: ‘This policy is also incredibly insensitive to the countless victims who have already been traumatized by unwanted touching in their lives and could be re-traumatized by such pat-downs.””
Wooden’s statements suggest a far larger problem. If what the TSA is allowed to do to children and adults in the security line of airports is indistinguishable from child abuse, for which people who are not TSA security personnel are sentenced to long terms in prison and, after they are released from prison, must register as sex offenders, why is it being allowed?
Leaving aside the prospect of children who have been the victims of sexual abuse being traumatized all over again by some scary person in a uniform who looks like that of a law enforcement officer, even kids who have not been victims of abuse will likely feel they have once they have been felt up in the TSA security line. Imagine the therapist fees parents are going to have to pay just for the right to take their kids on an airplane.
And, for just a moment, think about the TSA security people. Leaving aside the possibility that a child sex predator has slipped through whatever background checks the TSA uses to screen job applicants, one cannot but think that a person of normal appetites is going to be too comfortable feeling around a child’s genitalia to make sure he doesn’t have a bomb in his underwear.
Clearly the madness has to stop. Some better way has to be found to keep terrorists off of airplanes before everyone else is put off air travel. Some object that the Israeli method, which involves behavior profiling, would not work in the United States because of the much larger volume of air travel. But some of the Israeli methods could be adapted.
One idea would be to adopt a nation-wide “trusted flyer” program in which a person, especially a frequent flier, would submit to a background check. Then he or she could pass through the security line fairly quickly, allowing security personnel to concentrate on more suspicious-looking people.
Which, oddly enough, doesn’t include too many kids.
Source: TSA frisks groom children to cooperate with sex predators, abuse expert says, Daniel Teneor, Raw Story, December 1st, 2010