EU Child Porn Raids Arrest Many

PARIS – Authorities in eight European Union countries have reported the seizure of thousands of items of child pornography, including photos, videos and hard drives, as well as numerous arrests of suspected purveyors, in a sting that began last Monday and concluded this weekend.

The operation, code named Callidus for the Latin word meaning dextrous and penetrating, took place in Sweden, Norway, Britain, France, Malta, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland. In France, 20 arrests were made.

Callidus is part of a larger international effort to police the web and crack down on consumers and producers of child pornography. Using French software specifically designed for the purpose, the week-long sweep has resulted in the investigation of some 100 people in the eight nations.

"This operation is only a first step in efforts at the European level to co-ordinate the fight against child pornography on the Internet, identify victims and detect organized groups," French authorities said.

COSPOL, the joint effort that backed Callidus, was founded in November of 2004. Operation Callidus was its first concerted effort. Italy and Ireland are also members of COSPOL but did not take part in last week’s raids.

Swedish authorities said that Callidus’ success would lead to similar joint operations in the future, despite concerns from some countries that the number of child porn cases threatens to overwhelm police forces.