'Operation Rescue' Safeguards 200 Children

With the leading support of Europol, police have arrested 184 suspected child sex offenders and identified over 200 victims of child abuse following one of the biggest investigations of its kind by law enforcement agencies across the world.

With investigations still continuing, 670 suspects have been identified across the world already, 184 arrests made and 230 children safeguarded. The number of victims safeguarded is the highest ever achieved from this type of investigation, and is set to rise even further in the coming weeks.

Europol analysts cracked the security features of a key computer server at the centre of the network which uncovered the identity and activity of the suspected child sex offenders.

They were members of an online forum that promoted sexual relationships between adults and young boys. The website operated from a server based in the Netherlands and, at its height, boasted up to 70 000 members worldwide. It has now been taken down.

During the investigation, Europol issued over 4000 intelligence reports to police authorities in over 30 countries, including the UK, which has led to the arrests of suspects and the safeguarding of children. These reports also identified links between this network and those featured in multiple other investigations.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol said: "I am proud of the exceptional work of our experts in helping police authorities around the world to record these groundbreaking results. The safeguarding of so many vulnerable children is particularly rewarding and demonstrates the commitment of our agency to make Europe a safer place for its citizens. I also pay tribute to the relevant authorities in Europe and elsewhere for their operational work in tracking down the suspected criminals and their victims.”

Known as 'Operation Rescue', this complex case has run for three years. Law enforcement authorities have been brought together from 13 countries to track offenders on a truly global scale. Countries included: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

International law enforcement authorities are continuing to work with forces which are actively pursuing the intelligence arising from Operation Rescue. This has led to the arrest of a number of individuals suspected of serious offences against children, who are now awaiting trial.


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