Dark web child abuse: Hundreds arrested across 38 countries
Posted in: Child Protection&Online Safety at 17/10/2019 14:49
More than 300 people have been arrested following the take-down of one of the world's "largest dark web child porn marketplaces", investigators said.
The site had more than 200,000 videos which had collectively been downloaded more than a million times.
It was shut down last year after a UK investigation into a child sex offender uncovered its existence.
But on Wednesday, officials revealed that 337 suspected users had been arrested across 38 countries.
Dark web child porn bust leads to 338 arrests worldwide
Law enforcement officials said on Wednesday they had arrested hundreds of people worldwide after knocking out a South Korea-based dark web child pornography site that sold gruesome videos for digital cash.
Officials from the United States, Britain and South Korea described the network as one of the largest child pornography operations they had encountered to date.
South Korean national and hundreds of others charged worldwide in the takedown of the largest darknet child pornography website funded by bitcoin
Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged.
Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, and Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.
“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these are unthinkable,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. “Sadly, advances in technology have enabled child predators to hide behind the dark web and cryptocurrency to further their criminal activity. However, today’s indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”
“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”
337 arrested after takedown of horrific dark web child abuse site Welcome To Video
hree-hundred and thirty-seven suspects have been arrested globally in multi-agency operations sparked by a National Crime Agency investigation into one of the UK’s worst ever child sex offenders.
The arrests were made in 38 countries including the UK, Ireland, America, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and Canada.
Welcome To Video was taken down by an international taskforce set up by the NCA and included Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in America, the South Korean National Police and Germany’s Federal Criminal Police.
The site – run from South Korea – contained more than 250,000 horrific videos. Users had made more than one million downloads.
The website monetised the sexual abuse of children and was one of the first to offer sickening videos for sale using the cryptocurreny bitcoin.