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Germany busts darknet child porn site with help from RCMP

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    TORONTO, Ontario (CTV Network) — German authorities say they have busted one of the world’s largest international platforms for child pornography via a complex investigation that took them to the darknet and was aided by Canada’s RCMP.

Frankfurt prosecutors and the Federal Criminal Police Office released a statement saying that three suspects believed to be administrators of the “Boystown” platform had been arrested in mid-April, one of them in Paraguay. A German user was also arrested.

The RCMP said that no Canadians have been arrested during the investigation.

“The [National Child Exploitation Crime Centre] collaborated with German authorities during their investigation. To date, there have been no Canadian arrests associated with this operation. As the investigation is ongoing, the RCMP is not able to comment further,” an RCMP spokesperson told CTVNews.ca.

Seven buildings, all in Germany, were also searched last month in connection with the platform.

Authorities believe the platform had been active since at least 2019 and was “one of the world’s biggest pornography darknet platforms.” Pedophiles from around the world allegedly used the platform to exchange and watch pornographic videos of mostly male children and toddlers.

Prosecutors said that the website had multiple forums and chats, where video and images were kept, in many different languages, and that they found “images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers” among the content on the platform.

The months-long investigation involved German police in co-operation with Europol, RCMP and law enforcement agencies from the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia and the United States, according to the statement.

The three main suspects arrested in connection to “Boystown” were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who was residing in Paraguay, the prosecutors said in a statement. They are believed to have worked as administrators of the website and allegedly tried to help users evade law enforcement while using the platform.

The fourth suspect is a 64-year-old man from Hamburg. He is accused of having uploaded more than 3,500 posts to the website, being one of its most active members.

Since the raids in mid-April, the website has been shut down.

German police have requested that the suspect living in Paraguay be extradited to Germany.

Germany’s top security official said the investigation should send a clear message to those who exploit children.

“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren’t safe anywhere,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. “That’s what investigators work for day and night, online and offline, globally.”

“We’ll do everything within our power to protect the kids from these disgusting crimes,” he added.

– With files from Associated Press.

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