Authorities in Germany have arrested the leaders of “one of the world’s biggest child pornography darknet platforms,” which enabled hundreds of thousands of pedophiles to watch child pornography that mostly involved young boys, numerous sources reported.
Police confirmed Monday that a large-scale investigation led to the arrests of four German citizens between the ages of 40 and 64 in mid-April, Deutsche Welle reported. During the investigation, authorities reportedly searched seven buildings, including the suspects’ homes. (RELATED: Former Teacher Arrested On Child Porn Charges Allegedly Pretended To Be Girl To Solicit Naked Photos From Teens)
After months of investigation, German police have busted the “Boystown” child sex abuse platform with over 400,000 members. https://t.co/jA5sZ6UBUW
— DW Politics (@dw_politics) May 3, 2021
Authorities said pedophiles used the “Boystown” platform to exchange and watch child pornography that often involved toddlers, who were mostly boys, according to the Associated Press (AP). Pedophiles would share recordings depicting some “of the most serious sexual abuse of young children,” Germany’s federal authorities said, according to Deutsche Welle.
Three of the suspects were reportedly suspected of working as the platform’s administrators, and a fourth suspect was arrested in Paraguay on suspicion of being a registered member of the platform. Germany reportedly requested the suspect’s extradition.
The suspect arrested in Paraguay, who is 64, is believed to have been the “Boystown” platform’s most active user, and allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts, according to the AP.
In total, authorities said the site had more than 400,000 registered users, and was active since at least June 2019, according to Deutsche Welle. The German task force that led the investigation worked in conjunction with authorities from several countries, including the U.S., Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and Canada.
The platform had multiple communication channels, and gave members advice for how to best avoid detection by law enforcement and criminal charges, according to Deutsche Welle.
“The platform had several forums and chats — the illegal pictures and videos were kept in the forums; in the chats, the members could communicate,” prosecutor Julia Bussweiler said, according to the AP.
Following the police raids, the platform was reportedly shut down.
“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren’t safe anywhere,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, according to the AP.