Members of an identified group of paedophiles, heavily involved in the production and distribution of child pornography, were searched and arrested early today in an international police action, coordinated by INTERPOL's General Secretariat in Lyon, France, and involving 10 countries.
The operation, codenamed ARTUS, followed the identification of the paedophile network by Germany's National Criminal Police Agency 'Bundeskriminalamt'. An operational briefing which recently took place at INTERPOL's headquarters, involved law enforcement representatives from Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Europol, the European Union's police agency.
As a result of the searches that took place, computers and large quantities of data were seized and 12 persons were arrested. The materials seized will be analysed in an effort to identify and find the child victims who were sexually abused in the production of the material and save them from further abuse.
'Operation Artus is the latest in a series of successful operations to combat the production and distribution of child pornography over the Internet, said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. INTERPOL is pleased to work with national police agencies to ensure that the Internet is not available for the selling or distribution of such vile and degrading criminal activity.'
INTERPOL has recently established a global database to assist in the investigation of child pornography. It has also developed an analytical software tool to help identify victims and support law enforcement in INTERPOL's 179 member states involved in investigating these crimes.