The director of Europol (The European Police Office), Rob Wainwright commented, “670 suspects have been identified, 184 arrests have already been made and 230 children, the victims of these terrible crimes, have been identified and rescued from further harm.”
“This is one of the most successful international police operations in recent years in what is probably the largest online pedophile network in the world,” he added.
The Europol “Operation Rescue” targeted an online network that used a server based in the Netherlands. At the most 70,000 members worldwide registered. 121 arrests were made in Britain.
The operation started three years ago. The server involved had since been taken down and its operator appeared in Dutch court on Tuesday.
The policing agency said that the suspects were members of an online forum called boylover.net, which endorsed sex between adults and young boys.
“The website attempted to operate as a discussion-only forum where people could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any specific offences and operate below the radar. Many members, however, having made contact on the site, moved on to more private channels such as e-mail to exchange and share illegal images and films of children being abused” Peter Davies of Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre told the press conference.
According to Davies, the suspects did not share a specific profile, “There is no particular rule about the age, there is no particular rule about the walk of life they are in. There is no particular profile of someone who is a threat to children in this way.”
The oldest suspect arrested over the past three years was 84 years old. At least one woman was in the group.
One suspect, arrested in Spain, worked with children at summer camps and is believed to have abused over 100 kids in five years.
According to Cesar Lorenzana of Spain’s Guardia Civil, “most of the suspects abused children in their closest environment, in their families or friends or neighborhood.”
Wainwright revealed that “this huge network” was discovered after the 2010 breakthrough when Europol investigators cracked the Dutch-based server’s sophisticated security features.
Europol then published over 4,200 reports about the network’s activities to more than 30 countries, mostly in Europe, allowing them to trace offenders and their victims.
“We expect the number of victims will rise further. Our work continues and we will not rest until all of the offenders have been identified”, said Wainwright.
Countries involved in the investigation included Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United States.
Report by : Yahoo news