German police today announced the dismantling of a network of pedophiles operating on the Internet, with branches in several countries, although most were German-speaking.
The suspects are accused of having sex with minors, sharing pornographic images involving children and reporting their experiences online.
Most of the victims were the daughters of the suspects, their partners or friends and much of the material exchanged included videos and photographs of the victims themselves, said a police source, cited by the international press.
German authorities searched the homes and workplaces of 121 suspects, detained nine of the alleged leaders and seized 220 computers. The operation involved 800 agents.
At the same time, searches were carried out by police forces in Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Bulgaria, Canada and the United States, which targeted 15 more suspects. The Austrian police, in communications to the press in Vienna, said that in total 22 people were detained in various parts of the world, but many of those responsible are still at liberty, he warned.
In March, the country’s authorities announced the seizure of 14,000 computers, hard drives and drives, which led to the arrest of 200 men for pedophile practices on the Internet. The individuals would join a network involving 170 countries. At least 189 Austrians were accused of downloading and exchanging child pornography online and another 97 were under investigation.