Growing up, I was always taught that ‘‘strange men’’ offering children candy was a common tactic used by child molesters to abduct kids into sex trafficking and if something like that happened to me, I should scream at the top of my lungs.
Now that I am older, I am, wondering, how often do child molesters attempt to kidnap children with the ‘‘free candy tactic’’ Is it common enough to warrant the social hysteria? Or is about as common as the poisoned Halloween candy tactic ( it never actually happens but everyone thinks it does ).
I tried asking this on r/morbidquestions but I only got 2 answers. One which said ‘‘not often’’ with zero elaboration and another which provided all the different tactics child molesters allegedly use to kidnap children without actually answering my question.
I’m hoping I can get some better answers from this forum.
I don’t know. Closest thing I’ve experienced: when I was ten, one day I was hanging around outside my school for a while after the end of a school day, and a man started a conversation with me. We talked for a while, at least partly about current events as I recall (I had probably more awareness of these than most my age because my parents were radicals and sometimes had friends over who were hippies). Then he invited me to go for a ride in his car. I declined, explaining my parents had told me it wasn’t safe to go places with strangers. He seemed to accept this, then offered me a little change. I asked what it was for, and he said I could buy myself a soda. I didn’t really care about soda, but I said okay and took it. Then he asked again if I wanted to go for a ride in his car. I just repeated my previously stated reason for declining, and he bid my a good day (or words to that effect). I never saw him again.
My mother hadn’t just told me not to go places with strangers; she had urged me not to talk with them. When I had asked why, she explained they might want to harm me. I asked how, and she said they might kidnap me. I asked why, and she said they might hold me for ransom, and she and my father might not be able to pay it so I’d never see them again.
This made sense to me as an explanation, but I only inferred from it that I should avoid being kidnapped – no reason not to talk to people. So I acted accordingly when the occasion arose.
Tale from my own childhood.
Around the age of nine, me and my cousin were playing outside the front of the house. A man approached us saying he was a photographer.
My Dad eventually came to the door - I think to scare him off -, and he parotted the same thing.
Then he left. Never saw him again after that.