The German cops have been successful in arresting four members of a child abuse gang. The team members were suspected to be running one of the world’s largest child abuse image websites named “Boystown”. The website housed over 400,000 members worldwide, the prosecutors and the police had stated on Monday.
A police operation had been launched to take down one of the world’s largest child abuse image website, Boystown. The process had been carried out following raids in seven locations across Germany. The operation involved the federal and the regional German officers. The national police agency in Germany, the BKA, mentioned in a statement that the platform had been distributing indecent videos and images of children.
The cops had also arrested another man in Paraguay, who is awaiting extradition to Frankfurt. The arrest had been conducted in April 2021. However, the announcement of the arrest had been made on Monday.
Currently, the site Boystown is no longer operational, the BKA’s statement mentioned. The statement also noted that the cops had also found additional chat services or websites that had been shut down simultaneously in the same operation.
The arrested suspects’ identification had not been revealed in accordance with German law. But partial information stated that the arrested suspects were between 40 and 64 years of age.
The suspect trio arrested in Germany had been accused of founding as well as maintaining the child abuse imagery website Boystown. The website also had been providing instructions to its members on how to avoid getting arrested.
“Furthermore, members of the platform received safety instructions from them for secure surfing on ‘Boystown’ in order to minimize the risk of discovery by law enforcement authorities,” the BKA said.
The investigation was a months-long process, and that the pan-European police agency Europol had assisted alongside Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
“The image and video data seized during this investigation will be used for Victim Identification Taskforces organised on a regular basis at Europol,” the press release reads. “More arrests and rescues are to be expected globally as police worldwide examine the intelligence packages compiled by Europol.”
Boystown was a Tor-based website available on the dark web. The dark web consists of a series of web pages inaccessible via the standard web browsers or regular search engines. The cops revealed that the website had been active on the darknet at least from June 2019. It had served the global exchange of child pornography by the platform members. The site primarily focused on recordings of the male abuse that had been thoroughly exchanged.
“The site was structured so to allow easy retrieval of images and video of the most serious sexual abuse of young children,” police said.
Additionally, two chat areas on the alleged website had permitted the members to exchange the child abuse images in several languages.
Europol said in a statement: “Online child offender communities on the dark web exhibit considerable resilience in response to law enforcement actions targeting them. Their reactions include resurrecting old communities, establishing new communities, and making strong efforts to organize and administer them.”
This case marks the latest one in the series of the global takedown of the child abuse image distribution via the dark web. Other raids would be conducted with the aim to shut down the other websites similar to Boystown.
“There were and there are still several sites similar to Boystown in the darknet. For this reason investigations will go on to identify the responsible persons behind these dark net sites,” said Julia Bussweiler, a public prosecutor, responding to a question from a reputed news portal.
In 2019, the U.S. federal prosecutors filed multiple charges against a South Korean man aged 23 years. He was accused of running the so-called “the largest dark web marketplace for child porn” globally. The site had hosted over 200,000 unique videos.
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