Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
The Hague, 26 May 2023

Six victims of child sexual abuse have been identified and removed from harm as a result of the 12th Victim Identification Taskforce organised by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

Between 8 and 19 May, over 30 victim identification specialists from across the world joined forces at Europol’s headquarters and online to identify victims and offenders depicted in child sexual abuse material.

These specialists combed through over 460 sets of images and video files depicting unknown victims of child sexual abuse, some as young as a few days old. They were supported by Europol specialists and intelligence analysts in the field of combating the sexual exploitation of children.

These efforts have led to six children being identified and rescued from abuse, and one offender arrested.

In addition, the likely country of production of child sexual abuse material has been narrowed down in 236 instances, with investigations now ongoing at the national level to identify further victims.

The following countries and  took part in this edition of the VIDTF: Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA (HSI).

INTERPOL also supported this Taskforce.

Since 2014, Europol has been gathering victim identification specialists from across the world on a regular basis in order to focus on unsolved cases of child sexual abuse.

The VIDTF is the largest recurring operation of its kind in the world, and has inspired a number of similar initiatives at the national and regional levels, such as in Italy and Australia.

Europol’s support does not stop there. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has a dedicated team of specialists which supports countries in countering child sexual abuse and exploitation online.

In 2022, this team, known as Analysis Project Twins, supported 93 investigations against child sexual abuse.

Most recently, Europol’s support was instrumental in the arrest of a fifty-year old child abuser by the Italian Postal and Communication Police (Polizia Postale e delle Comunicazioni). Europol provided an intelligence package to the Italian authorities which allowed for the identification of this abuser, who had been active on pedophile platforms on the dark web for a decade.

Would you like to play a part in helping solve cases of child sexual abuse? Head to https://www.europol.europa.eu/stopchildabuse to see if you recognize any of the details in the images released publically. Europol periodically releases new series of pictures in the framework of its Stop Child Abuse – Trace An Object campaign, appealing to the general public for clues which might lead down the line to a child being rescued from harm.

No clue is too small.

Source – Europol

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