independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

386 children saved in porn raids

New software is to be introduced that will automatically block 100,000 "unambiguous" search terms

A worldwide child pornography investigation has led to the rescue of 386 children and the arrest of 348 people, police said.

Detectives in Canada described the Project Spade operation as one of the largest child porn busts they have seen.

"It is alleged that officers seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed," Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.

Police said 108 people were arrested in Canada and 76 in the US.

Australian Federal Police commander Glen McEwen confirmed that 65 men had been arrested in Australia as a result of the Canadian investigation, and six Australian children had been removed from harm.

Police said the children were "rescued from child exploitation" but did not give more details.

School teachers, doctors and actors were among those arrested.

Ms Beaven-Desjardins said the investigation began with a Toronto man accused of running a company since 2005 that distributed child pornography videos.

Police allege Brian Way, 42, instructed people around the world to create the videos of children ranging in age from five to 12, then distributed the videos via his company, Azov Films, to international customers.

The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania and Ukraine, which it marketed as naturist movies and claimed were legal in Canada and the United States.

Police said they executed a search warrant at Way's company and home, seizing about 1,000 pieces of evidence including computers, servers, DVD burners, a video editing suite and hundreds of movies.

Way was charged with 24 offences, including child pornography and is in jail. Police also designated Azov Films as a criminal organisation, charging Way with giving directions on behalf of a gang.

Ms Beaven-Desjardins said this is the first time in Canada that anyone has been charged with being a part of a criminal organisation in regards to child pornography.

Police said they began their investigation in 2010 and worked with Interpol in more than 50 countries including Australia, Spain, Mexico, Norway and Greece.

"This operation shows that international police co-operation works. Despite large amounts of material and that this is time-consuming work, this shows that the internet is not a safe haven for crimes against children," Norwegian police spokesman Bjoern-Erik Ludvigsen said.

The US Postal Inspection Service said it began its investigation by accessing the company website and making undercover purchases.

Ms Beaven-Desjardins said the investigation is continuing and believes more arrests will be made.

Press Association

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