More arrests expected on child porn

2013-08-23 00:00

FIFTY people in South Africa are currently linked to an international child pornography network.

National police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said yesterday 30 warrants of arrest have already been issued and the police have applied for 20 more.

Six of the men (aged between 43 and 63) have already been taken into custody and some of them have appeared in court.

Two of the men are from the North West and two are from Johannesburg. A suspect from Bloemfontein is a retired teacher who manages a crèche with his wife, and a suspect in Mpumalanga is a primary school principal. The men were arrested after police confiscated almost 800 items — including laptops, hard drives, memory sticks, cameras and cellphones in a nationwide raid. Sister paper Beeld learned that the suspects had been identified using Internet addresses linked to computers from which child pornography had allegedly been downloaded.

Makgale said the police are investigating whether the suspects were also involved in producing child pornography or whether South African children were abused in any way.

Professor Basie von Solms, director at the Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Johannesburg, said very little technical know-how was required to disseminate child pornography anonymously online. He said the easiest way was to encrypt messages and images. He speculated that the six who had been arrested for possession of child pornography, could be traced because they did not hide their names and e-mail addresses.

Von Solms said he did not think there was necessarily a child pornography network or syndicate that was distributing child pornography.

Childline national co-ordinator Joan van Niekerk said people who collected child pornography usually had a lot of visual material, adding one man had almost a million photos.

Van Niekerk found that people who were addicted to child pornography in most cases manufactured it themselves.

“They are afraid that they will be caught out when they buy [child pornography] or download it,” she said.

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