Five European Countries Subject of Child Porn Raid

Gretchen Gallen
ROME – Dozens of suspects were rounded up over the weekend as part of a large network of child porn consumers and manufacturers operating out of six European countries, police agency Europol announced.

A joint effort between Europol, Italy's Carabinieri police and other agencies in adjoining countries, Operation Icebreaker II conducted raids in Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, seizing computers, videotapes, memory cards, CD-ROMs and other materials.

Europol has not yet released information on the number of arrests that resulted from the raids, but so far 80 suspects are being investigated for their participation in what police are calling a large-scale “child abuse network.”

Investigators culled their information from various message boards where a network of users traded child porn images and used encryption techniques to hide their IP addresses.

According to Reuters, police are trying to identify the children abused in the images and so far, one of the suspects is being investigated for sexual abuse of a child.

"It is important to show the persons who directly or indirectly are involved in a sexual abuse depriving children of their childhood, that they cannot stay anonymous behind a computer screen," Europol Director Max-Peter Ratzel said.

The raid comes on the heels of a June investigation executed by the same agencies that identified 130 suspects involved in the possession and distribution of child pornography.

This week European police agency Interpol announced a big push to identify child sex victims and abusers by using a special software that can analyze Internet images and crucial clues about where and when the photos were taken.

The database, which is estimated to have cost Interpol about 3.2 million euros, will be made available to other agencies by the end of the year. The software can match crime scenes and victims and is expected to provide a big leg-up to investigators who often fail to come up with enough information on child porn images to locate the victims.