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Huge child porn ring busted; Europol arrest 112 so far, graphic video seized

Police across Europe arrested 112 people for sharing online videos of children being sexually abused and raped, policing agency Europol said Friday.

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Denmark's national police chief Jens Henrik Hoejbjerg speaks next to Europol director Rob Wainwright during a press conference at Europol headquarters in The Hague, on December 16, 2011. Police in 22 European countries swooped on 112 suspects for allegedly sharing "the most extreme form" of online videos of children being sexually abused and raped, policing agency Europol said today. (Jerry Lampen/AFP/Getty Images)

Police across Europe arrested 112 people for sharing online videos of children being sexually abused and raped, policing agency Europol said Friday.

"So far in 22 countries we have identified 269 suspects with 112 arrests", Europol's director Rob Wainwright said at a press conference at Europol's headquarters in The Hague, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The operation targeted those sharing the most extreme forms of video material, which included babies and toddlers being sexually abused and raped," he said, adding: "I have no doubt that the number of suspects will increase in time."

The yearlong "Operation Icarus" busted previously unknown networks of child sex offenders who were sharing the child pornography via a "peer-to-peer" system, a Europol spokesman reportedly said.

So much material was seized it will take months or even years to analyze, the Irish Times reported, adding that the material had been described as the "worst of the worst."

One Swiss man arrested had 36,000 hours of video on his computer equipment.

Danish police lead the probe because of their expertise in illegal videos through a file-sharing system, AFP cited a Europol press release as saying.
Europol said it had identified 269 suspects in total. "I have no doubt that the number of suspects will increase in time," Wainwright said.

While calling the operation a success, Wainwright noted in a statement that the bust showed "how the Internet is helping offenders to develop better techniques for sharing images on a global basis and for protecting their identity."

"The problems involved are becoming harder to police," he said, according to The Associated Press.

In March, Europol reportedly announced the bust of an even larger online pedophile ring — thought to number nearly 70,000 members worldwide — arresting 184 of 670 suspects in 30 countries, and rescuing 230 children.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the operation showed the "importance of cooperation between law enforcement authorities at European and international level to tackle criminal activities that know no borders."

"These children are victims of multiple crimes. First, when the actual abuse takes place, she said, AFP reported. "Then, when it is filmed. And, thereafter, every time the images are posted, circulated or viewed."

According to the AP, the nations involved in the investigation were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/111216/child-pornography-ring-rape-babies-infants-sex-abuse-pedophile-children-europol