Fact Check

Exploitation Nation

No, neither Germany nor the rest of the European Union are legalizing pedophilia.

Published Dec. 1, 2015



[green-label]Claim:[/green-label]Germany and the rest of the European Union are legalizing pedophilia.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [Collected via email, November 2015]

I just saw something incredibly alarming claiming Germany and some other EU countries are going to legalize pedophilia--is this possible?

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label] In the 1980s, Germany’s Green Party co-leader, Jürgen Trittin, released an election pamphlet lobbying to legalize sex between children and adults.  It also actively promoted the agenda of pedophile groups.  The support for legalized pedophilia officially ended in 1990, and Green Party officials, by all accounts, tried to permanently distance themselves from it.

Trittin has said that his party’s stance on pedophilia was intended to shock and push back against Germany’s criminalization of homosexuality (Paragraph 175, which was ended in 1994.)   He told members of the press in 2013, 

“In the founding phase of the Greens, gay and lesbian groups were campaigning to reverse discrimination of a kind you can hardly imagine today.

The impetus for liberalisation and decriminalisation overshot its target. And it overshot, because there was the fiction that - beyond violence and the abuse of a relationship of trust — there could be sexual relations between adults and children.”

The story has been in headlines in recent months after an internal investigation by Germany’s Green Party concluded that the group, in the 1980s, did, in fact, support the country’s “pedosexual movement,” which advocated for “consensual relations” between adults and children (not dissimilar to other groups in Europe and North America, such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA, which still has a high-profile presence in the United States.) Members of the Green Party apologized to victims of past sexual abuse for trivializing their experiences. 

An unrelated pamphlet, first published in 2001, has been cited as evidence that Germany is legalizing pedophilia, as it advocates, among other things, that parents "tickle, caress, and kiss the child in various places while it is being cleaned."  In fact, it was part of a push for early childhood sex education.  The pamphlet was written by Ina-Marie Phillips and distributed by Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).  

The offending passages, argue supporters, have been taken out of context and are an attempt to help parents and children identify the difference between normal touches and cuddling and sexual abuse.  However, the pamphlet was out of print as of 2007. 

It is worth noting that Germany today has some of the most groundbreaking treatment for pedophiles in the world, with its national “Don’t Offend” network and campaign.  Its treatment is aimed at active prevention of child sex abuse rather than punishment after the fact, giving potential abusers therapy and support.


Photo Courtesy: Flickr user Todd Binger

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.

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