17 March 2011

International law enforcement smashes child abuse ring

A global paedophile network consisting of thousands of online members has been shattered, thanks to the international alliance of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) and other dedicated international law enforcement agencies. Over 200 children have been safe guarded and 184 offenders arrested across the globe.

Chair of the VGT, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, congratulated the VGT members and other international law enforcement agencies that worked together on the operation.
“By joining forces on a global level, we were able to successfully shut down the child abuse website, which was hosted in the Netherlands, seize the server,” he said.

“We have also saved 230 children around the world from ongoing sexual abuse, including a 13-year-old victim who had been involved in daily prostitution for a number of years.

“I congratulate the dedicated law enforcement agencies from around the globe, who have worked together as part of this huge operation to shut down this heinous online child abuse network.

“This joint law enforcement operation is a prime example of how international collaboration has successfully worked to combat this inexcusable crime. Online child sexual exploitation can and will be traced across the globe.”

The website allowed members to move to private channels to exchange and share illegal images and films of children being abused.
This operation started in 2007 and involved cooperation between six of the eight VGT member agencies, including the Australian Federal Police, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre in the United Kingdom, the New Zealand Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, The National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, as part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Italian Postal and Communications Police Service.

The website itself has now been taken down. The suspects in this operation are aged between 19 years and 84 years, from all walks of life. They include scout leaders, lifesavers and teachers.

Other countries participating in the operation include the Netherlands, France, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Since its inception in 2003, the VGT has helped rescue dozens of children around the world from sexual abuse, identified and held to account hundreds of child sex offenders and conducted numerous targeted law enforcement operations into on-and-offline offending.

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