Washington: American, British and South Korean officials announced at a news briefing here on Wednesday that they have busted one of the world’s largest child sexual exploitation networks. An analysis of a server, seized by South Korean authorities, revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had a capacity for at least one million users, Dawn newspaper reported.
According to the report, the operation led to the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site. The internet-based child pornographic network was the world’s largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content, said US Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Downing. Officials said hundreds of suspects had been charged worldwide for their alleged involvement with the largest darknet child pornography website, funded by Bitcoin. In Washington, a federal grand jury indicted a South Korean national Jong-Woo Son, 23 for operating the website called Welcome to Video. The nine-count indictment was unsealed on Wednesday along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody, serving his sentence in South Korea.
Authorities have also arrested 337 other users in the US States of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, DC. According to the Dawn report, some of the suspects were arrested in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil, and Australia. “Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the vilest and reprehensible forms of criminal behaviour,” said US Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. “This administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield.” (IANS)