5 Things I Learned Infiltrating Deep Web Child Molesters
Our source, "Pam", spent months undercover in an online community of child molesters, learning their lingo and studying their ways as part of an undergrad research project. The evidence she brought back is truly horrifying, and a quick heads up: Nothing that appears after this paragraph will be the least bit safe for your brain.
In The Dark Web, You'll Find A Whole Pedophile "Community"
To infiltrate this stygian pit of awfulness, Pam used the same anonymizing service revered by drug dealers and privacy advocates: Tor. If you don't pay much attention to Internet-news, Tor is a free service you can use to try and thwart government surveillance of your online communication -- basically wiping away your tracks. Ironically, Tor was developed with a lot of government help and is currently used by the military, NSA, and CIA for their own stealth-browsing needs. Like so many times before, the government engineered the means for its own defeat.
Once you're in, you go searching for the illegal stuff the same way the pedophiles do -- they have set up a system to make it easier for them to find each other. So, while they don't like to advertise, child pornographers do have their own Wikipedia, which is accessible through Tor. It's named "Hard Candy," because there is no God and whatever odious being vomited us into existence abandoned us to the void long ago.
Pam eventually wound up at a discussion forum called 3DBoys, which is full of erotic art and stories about every nightmare your parents ever had while you were growing up.
However, there wasn't any actual porn on 3DBoys. Everything there was on the edge, certainly, but members were extremely careful never to blindly masturbate their way into outright illegality. However, during her exploration of 3DBoys, Pam learned of a site called 7axxn, which was essentially the Mos Eisley Cantina for child pornographers.
Since basically everyone on 7axxn was guilty of more federal crimes than your average Batman villain, membership was heavily restricted. Like that creepy rich people sex club from Eyes Wide Shut, the only way in to 7axxn was to get an invitation from a current member. Some of those members hung out in a less-restricted Tor chatroom, but it looked like gaining their trust would require breaking the law: "If you didn't provide a link to child porn every 10 minutes, you were kicked off," says Pam. This whole "incriminate yourself to get inside" attitude was common among pedophiles of the Deep Web: "There are a lot of forums that don't even allow new members unless they submit an application where they upload examples from their own CP library. I wasn't about to even try that."
It's sort of like how drug dealers in the movies will force suspected undercover cops to do a line of what is supposedly cocaine in order to prove their shared criminality -- the big difference being that it's totally legal for cops to do that kind of stuff in the interest of busting criminals. Pam wasn't a cop, so, if she downloaded or exchanged any illegal pornography, she would be in just as much trouble as the band of villains she was attempting to infiltrate. Finally, she got lucky. "The third day someone said, 'Oh yeah, I've got an invite,' and I was like, 'Can I have an invite, too?'"
Thanks to the, uh, generosity of that particular pedophile, Pam was in. And the further in she got, the more terrifying the implications of her research became. As Nietzsche said, "She who fights with monsters should look to it that she herself doesn't get raided by the FBI for her browser history." Which is to say, the legal status of Pam's work was rather murky. "Researchers do have some legal protections in these situations, but my primary adviser was fuzzy about whether I was even eligible as an undergrad. This started six months of paranoia that every time the doorbell rang, it was the FBI coming to get me for my data. Sometimes, I still jump ."
But, the FBI never came, and, over the course of the next month, Pam observed what we can safely call the Internet's worst community, where she learned ...
There Are Two Opposing "Camps" Of Child Molester
There's something we should establish right away. There are pedophiles out there who desperately don't want to harm children and hate the urges they feel -- we interviewed a few of them a while back. But, what Pam found on 7axxn was a shitload of people dedicated to raping and victimizing children and also finding new ways to do it.
7axxn is a community of "over 90,000" registered users, filled with gigabyte after gigabyte of child pornography, which is easily the most depressing set of statistics ever recorded. Most users are just there for the porn, but hundreds of them also contribute to a lively set of discussion forums. There are even polls, breaking down the popularity of things such as "Hurtcore," which is the charming shorthand term for pornography featuring the violent physical abuse of children (Note: About 40 percent of respondents said they "love it!," and another 19 percent merely thought it was "okay, not my favorite.")
Other highlights of the discussion included a debate over the merits of drugging children, in which one member insisted that drugs weren't necessary because " ... children are quite heavy sleepers without taking any medication at all!"
Those awful "practical" threads actually revealed a major divide within the "community," between people who were more-or-less at peace with the fact that they were sexually assaulting victims who were incapable of giving consent, to those who considered themselves child lovers, insisting they were merely in a mutual sexual relationship with someone who happened to be a kindergartner. Here's a sample post from a thread asking whether or not respondents preferred "real sex or real rape." Quote:
"Enjoy what you want; that's your business, NOT MINE. But don't you DARE, EVER paint me with the same brush as you do yourself. And don't ever call yourself a child lover, either. You've got some nerve.
Do you also think that stealing something is the same as buying it, too? Well, if that's the case, I hope you open a shop in my village soon. Of course, I myself would never steal anything from you. The only people you'd have to worry about is people just like yourself. What a way to go through life: having no desire to ever look in a mirror and see someone you could possibly respect."
Pam got her first hints of the divide between "child lovers" and "child molesters" when she was browsing around the 3DBoys community, seeing posts like this:
You have to learn to disassociate your thinking of pedophilia with hurting or abusing children. You have been brought up to, not talk to strangers etc when you was a child because your parents who think pedos hurt children passed that idea on to you & now your mind is confused ...
The truth is, some people do hurt children but the majority of pedophiles (paedophile is latin for child lover -- paed=child & phile=love) love children and would not hurt them or harm them in any way."
We've actually encountered this ourselves, by the way. After we did the aforementioned article with the pedophiles who were trying to undergo treatment to stop, some lovely soul tweeted to us an earnest defense of child molestation based around two key points of indestructible logic:
A) Children have sex with each other!
B) Pedophilia means "child friend." No, really!
You'll note the same "linguistic root of the word 'pedophile'" talking point Pam ran into above. They also claimed that our article's point of view represented, "... the breeder/prude/cretin's agenda treating kids as property without a will or say of their own." As if the children's "innocence" (that is, the fact that they don't know what's happening and are easily lied to) isn't the very thing that turns them on.
In other words, there are child molestation crusaders out there, and Pam ran into a lot of this on the Deep Web. Below is one response to a 7axxn post from a guy, bemoaning his inability to be anything but a "leech" (a person who consumes the content but never submits any) because his family situation made it impossible to actively share child pornography. The other members suggested he could aid "the cause" by helping to "enlighten & educate" the children in his life on the "true philosophies of love":
"Firstly, there is nothing wrong with being a "leech" for on topic IMHO.
It is important we spread the content for all who share our orientation. But it is equally important that we make the world see that so called 'children' are human beings that enjoy sexuality as much as 'adults'.
If you do not wish to engage in sexual activity with our younger brothers & sisters, then please at least enlighten & educate them on the true philosophies of love, happiness & sexuality. Show them that the violence we ingrate into our 'civilization' is unacceptable, and nurture the emotion & feelings that come naturally to humanity.
It will allow them to become more balanced in their post-pubescent years. Acknowledging that sexuality between humans regardless of age is not evil or destructive."
Advice of this nature is typically dispensed by cloven-hooved tentacle beasts wearing person costumes. Unfortunately for the whole damn human race, some of the people who aim to "enlighten" kids (a term here meaning "molest") actually have children of their own.
That's right ...
For Some People, It's A Family Business
Let's cut right to the chase: a moderator on 7axxn with the sage-like moniker of sarahthecunt claims to have three children that she and her husband are "bringing up pedo" (her husband is a member, too). This is another way of saying they rape their children and convince them that they're enjoying it. "She makes her own videos of that," says Pam, "and she's one of the (according to her) biggest child pornographers in her area. I don't know where that area is because they are very tight-lipped about where they're located."
Sarahthecunt claims she was molested by her dad as a young girl and enjoyed it so much that she grew up taking pride in her identity as a pedophile. When she tired of shopping around for a "Mr. Right" to have kids with (and then molest), she took to hanging out on a series of pedo chatrooms until she met a like-minded man named "Brian," whom she married three months later. Here, in sarahthecunt's own words, are the rules they set for their children:
Please note she admits that she and her husband immediately violated rule #1 when their daughter was a newborn. We're guessing that right about now your greatest hope in the world is that Sarah's entire tale is an elaborate fake. But according to Pam, that isn't likely. "She posts videos she and husband make ... According to her, the kids are willing participants. But, obviously, they can't be." It's interesting to see the lines the "child lovers" faction draw for themselves. Continuing sex after a child says "no" is bad, so, of course, the moral thing to do is to simply condition the child from birth to never say no, by never telling them that what's happening to them isn't normal.
Pam hasn't seen these videos because that would mean downloading child pornography. But, Sarahthecunt is a frequent contributor to the site's felonious archives and is regarded as credible by her fellow child molesters. You might be wondering how the hell people like her manage to stay hidden from the eyes of the law for so long. Well, that's because ...
Child Molesters Have A Handbook
Any sufficiently difficult task needs a handbook, or, at the very least, a guide "For Dummies." So, some enterprising pedophiles (or unsettlingly imaginative FBI agents) have written a guide to protect their evil, horror-shit comrades:
"The pedophile's handbook was originally a PDF or .doc in circulation among the community," Pam says. "It turns out there's also a downloadable version too."
Pam says the handbook includes bits on argumentative justifications for pedophilia, which probably explains why both the guy who tweeted us and the people on 7axxn used such similar language. Among other things, it advises buyers of child porn to do their business in Bitcoin and teaches readers "... how to have sex with children, and hide it from a significant other."
The handbook also keys newbie pedophiles in on helpful hints such as using the shorthand acronym CP, instead of actually typing "child pornography." Another term the community uses to avoid suspicion is "young friends," which refers to the children they've either abused or wanted to abuse. The community further protects itself by carrying out all their communication anonymously on Tor and keeping vigilant moderators. Pam actually posted on 7axxn as a researcher, seeking to poll the population.
Her thread was immediately identified and locked down by a moderator:
"To all- this is a feeble attempt at drawing people out ... It may be an actual researcher (who didn't read the intro tag at the top of our page) or didn't know how the host system he's using works or a clueless lea or whatever ...
In any case be aware of these things. Don't ever go to sites asking for survey data. Even someone just 'collecting data' via messages and responses in posts can cause enough personal info to be revealed to help police profilers (who are very good at what they do) to fill in the blanks.
I'm leaving the message up, sans link, just for awareness purposes."
Any community that forms around something this illegal doesn't last long if the members are dumb about it. These people want as many burgeoning pedophiles to find them as possible because that means more emotional support (and more porn) for them. They know their community is only as safe as its least safe member, so they work together to protect each other from the feds and maintain a place on the Internet where they can freely have conversations like this:
"i get hard seeing teen girls crying and being violated and raped, enjoy those murder porn scenes too. Just look at some BDSM sites, you can actually re-enact a 'consensual' rape scene with a stranger and all that kinds of stuff, its not really that uncommon. Not that i would actually hurt someone if they didn't want to be hurt or anything, besides once you do hurt someone or rape someone, usually you lose your hard on pretty quickly facing the consequences lol. I actually share this stuff with people in general conversation with a smile on my face, they just laugh, Lol. Not sure if they think I am joking."
This is the paradox of a group that also desperately want to be acknowledged as "normal" and "healthy" by mainstream society -- just another sexual orientation. In one thread, a member pitched the idea of starting a website for children "between the ages of 9 and 14." It would contain "educational games" and a chat client that would connect these young users to other "kids" who, as you might have already guessed, would actually be pedophiles in disguise. The other members of 7axxn immediately told the poster his idea was rock-fucking stupid, and he lashed out angrily in response:
"Herein lies one of the major problems in the entire pedo community: they let 'The Man' and they let 'Them' best us before we even try anything new. They have already beaten us psychologically, so that's why we don't even bother to try. That is one of their tactics. And they are winning.
If we united and put are heads together, there is a whole lot more that we can do together ... There is a whole lot more that we can do and accomplish if we would stop letting them beat us before we even try.
A site like this CAN be done. Safety measures could be put into place to earn trust, like requiring some sort of photo ID before gaining access to chat features to ensure that only kids are in the chat.
I'm sure that you can also come up with a lot of other great ideas, if you are willing to lose this negative mindset that has been imposed upon us and start winning the psychological game that they are playing with us.
It's entirely possible that guy was an undercover FBI agent, trying to trick members of the forum into basically handing themselves over on a silver platter. If it was, it sadly didn't work. Busting people who openly brag about the commission of major felonies seems like the easiest job any cop could wish for, but the truth is ...
They Are Very Good At Staying Anonymous
If you've got any kind of soul, this has been a frustrating article to read. Now imagine how Pam felt after wading through all this chittering evil at ground-fucking-zero:
" ... at one point, I read how one of the mods was arrested for sexual assault on a minor, and she got off -- the person who charged her recanted. had her RIGHT THERE, and the things she did and admitted to doing on the forum were even worse than anything she'd been charged for."
Another day, Pam discovered a thread about the best way to drug children (one quote: " does wonders. Very mild and relaxes muscles too ... Btw only make them tired and lethargic. Not a good choice for a light sleeper unless mixed with etoh (alcohol). Be careful."). And again, those posts are right alongside those insisting that kids just love sex and have no problem giving consent.
"You're damn right I wanted to get these people locked up," says Pam. "I looked as hard as I could, for any court admissible evidence, I specifically looked for location data, ID information ... and I found nothing. The people here ... they are very open about what they want to do to children. And very careful about not mentioning where they are located."
There's also the fact that Tor offers a lot of protection -- there's a reason drug dealers and investigative journalists also use it to hide themselves. That said, the FBI has broken through Tor's protections before: In 2013, they busted a prolific child pornographer and several pedophile communities. But, that bust ultimately boiled down to just a handful of individuals, which didn't do squat to stop the spread of child porn across the hidden reaches of the Internet.
In December 2014, a reported 80 percent of visits to the Deep Web involved child pornography. In an article full of staggering horror, that last sentence somehow manages to be the most chilling.
Robert Evans runs Cracked's personal experience article team. He has a Twitter.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and YouTube, where you can catch all our video content such as 4 Bizarrely Disturbing Implications of Children's Movies and other videos you won't see on the site!
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Ways We Misunderstand Pedophilia (That Makes It Worse) and 5 Insane Things I Learned About Drugs As An Undercover Agent.
Have a story to share with Cracked? Mail us here.