Authorities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia have cracked down on an organization that had provided live streams of children being abused.
A total of 29 people have been arrested, some of which in the Philippines, where the illegal activities were taking place. Eleven of the detained individuals are said to be part of the facilitation group. Some of them are the family members of the abused children.
Some of the arrested individuals are the ones who paid for access to the live streams. They’re said to be spread out across 12 countries.
In the UK, a total of 17 people have been arrested. Five of them have already been convicted, while nine of the suspects are still being investigated.
The British customers of the online child abuse operation are said to have paid more than £5,351 ($8,800 / €6,500). In total, the crime group is believed to have made over £37,500 ($61,700 / €45,000).
15 Filipino children, aged between 6 and 15, have been rescued by authorities.
In addition to this law enforcement operation, there are three other investigations that target those who facilitate and those who pay for child abuse streaming services. 733 suspects, 139 of which from the UK, have already been identified.
“Thanks to this joint operation, children have been rescued from a living nightmare. The group responsible for these heinous crimes mistakenly believed that they could use technology to avoid detection, but they were wrong,” noted ICE Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director James Dinkins.
“We will continue to work tirelessly with our international law enforcement partners across jurisdictions and national boundaries to protect children anywhere in the world and bring criminals to justice regardless of where they live.”