You know, I'm not so sure the motivation is money. I'm willing to bet that the particular volunteers who "portray" children don't get any of it.
I've thought for a long, long time about this. At first I was sort of on the side of the TV show - but lately I'm not. I've come to believe that these people - Perverted Justice, and their associates - really are just bullies. They need someone to belittle, someone to degrade. Well, pedos are a fairly easy target - nobody likes them, and nobody minds when a pedo does something dumb and goes to jail for it.
Well, I'm not going to feel sorry for someone who tries to hook up with a 13-year-old online and goes to what he thinks is her house and finds a bunch of TV cameras. I'm not going to feel sorry even for somebody who realizes he's been caught and offs himself. But I will not place the people who "caught" him on any kind of pedestal - because they are just bullies, and all bullies are the same, even if their targets are people I don't like.
Think about it for a moment. These people do not care one whit about real kids. They know nothing about kids. They create these fake "child" personas online, tell people that they are 13, and then proceed to act and talk like adult sex-fiends - which to me is at least as sick as an adult seeing such talk from someone claiming to be 13 and trying to hook up with them. They know nothing about how real kids act, because they objectify children, just like pedophiles. And they exploit kids, too - using them as a banner to justify their self-righteous bullying, crowing about how they've gotten a "predator" who wasn't a predator yet "off the streets" that he was never on to begin with. Wasted time, wasted money, and meanwhile the streets remain fully stocked with REAL predators, who have REAL victims, whose removal requires more effort that some lazy bastard sitting on his ass in front of a computer all day can muster.
What's more, I'm becoming convinced that MOST people who "crusade" against perps are like this. They will do anything they think they can to get some sick freak locked away - NOT because "he molested Tommy", but because "he is a child molester, and we must protect the children". Fair enough - but as soon as the trial is over, "Tommy" can well and truly go to hell as far as they're concerned. They'll leave him to his damaged psyche, watch his life collapse from the inside, and then point to the mess that's left and say "we have to stop child molesters because we must prevent kids from ending up like this!" And so it is, until he turns 18 and is no longer a child-object, at which point, if they even remember who he is, he - being a CSA victim and all - becomes a risk in their eyes at best...
...eek, sorry about the rant. Bad mood, I guess.