It’s summertime, but there is no vacation for the agents of the Europol that arrested 75 suspects in 28 European countries for sharing child sex images on the internet.
The European law enforcement agency was investigating 207 cases across the Europe under an investigation code-named “Operation Daylight” that started after it received information from Swiss police last year about a vast network of crooks involved in the sexual exploitation of minors.
Norway and Switzerland also took part in the operation.
“The Europol coordinated Operation Daylight targeting those responsible for distributing child sexual abuse material has led to 611 intelligence packages being disseminated through Europol to EU Member States and third parties. This EMPACT-CYBER-Child Sexual Exploitation operational action has resulted in 207 criminal investigations being opened among these countries and 75 persons being arrested or convicted at this point.” states the official announcement from the Europol.
“The action was planned and executed by law enforcement agencies across the European Union to focus on those distributing child sexual abuse material using online networks. Those networks continue to be a primary source for persons with a sexual interest in children who are seeking child sexual abuse and exploitation material online”
The investigation lasted for more than a year, the Swiss police shared information which led to 611 ‘intelligence packages’ being sent to 26 EU member states.”
An intelligence package is a detailed report about a suspect, it could also include information such as its computer IP addresses.
The spokeswoman Claire Georges confirmed that criminals used the Tor anonymizing network to protect their anonymity and accessed resources on the Dark Web.
The Italian Police (Polizia Postale) involved in the operation declared in a separate statement that many of those arrested were unknown to law enforcement, they were surprised to own and share vast amounts of child pornographic material concerning minors. Almost all people are older than 50 and secretly contributed to this despicable network from the confines of the four walls of their homes, always paying maximum attention to source the latest material.
Georges confirmed that the investigation was ongoing and that more arrests were expected in the next months.
“We know that individuals are abusing online platforms and networks to distribute child sexual abuse material and are determined to target them and bring them to justice,” said the Europol EC3 cybercrime centre head Steven Wilson.
Europol last year said criminals were increasingly selling live streams of child sex over legitimate chat sites and apps such as Skype in return for hard-to-trace virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
(Security Affairs – Europol, Operation Daylight)