Police arrest scores in major WhatsApp child sex abuse swoop

2017-04-18 17:24
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Hague - Police have arrested at least 38 suspects in over a dozen countries across Europe and Latin America after busting an online paedophile ring that used the WhatsApp chat service to distribute child pornography, Europol and Interpol said on Tuesday.

In co-ordinated swoops late last month, local and international authorities searched houses and seized hundreds of devices containing child sexual exploitation material in South and Central America as well as Germany, Italy and Spain, Europe's policing agency Europol said in a statement.

"These offenders are pushing the boundaries of modern technology to try to avoid being caught by law enforcement," Europol's director Rob Wainwright said.

Dubbed "Operation Tantalio", the investigation was sparked in mid-2016 by the Spanish police's High-Tech Crime Unit focusing on the Tor encryption network, used by criminals to mask their identities.

"Prompted by clear evidence of prolific sharing of indecent images, the Spanish investigators revealed links diverting users to private groups on WhatsApp," Europol said.

A total of 25 groups, formed by invitation only, are currently being investigated, according to Europol.

"We need to continue to combine our joint resources and skills to tackle this threat to our children and bring these offenders to justice," Wainwright said.

"Actions like Operation Tantalio send a strong message" that police across the globe will continue to work together to bring to justice those "engaging in or benefiting from the heinous crimes," added Bjorn Sellstrom, Interpol Crimes Against Children operations co-ordinator.

Steven Wilson, head of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, said the network was run for "self-gratification", not for money.

Spanish police said they had intercepted 360 000 files. In one raid in northwestern Spain, they found material documenting names, ages, email addresses and meeting places with children, some of them dating back 20 years.


Read more on:    whatsapp  |  interpol  |  europol  |  netherlands  |  social networks  |  child abuse

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

French Bulldog helps kids with facial differences

Lentil Bean is a french bulldog who was born with a severe cleft nose, lip and palate.

 
 

Paws

Weird things dogs do
Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.