Colombia: Two arrested for live streaming child sexual abuse

27 February 2023
Authorities have safeguarded victims aged 19 months, 7 and 9.

LYON, France – Colombia police have safeguarded three children and arrested their mother and aunt, accused of live streaming the children’s sexual abuse for profit.

Australian authorities first brought the case to INTERPOL’s attention in December 2022 after finding a video depicting child sexual abuse on the Darknet. The video material was uploaded to INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database, where specialized officers from around the world could consult and analyse it for clues.

One month later, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted INTERPOL’s Crimes against Children (CAC) unit to the possible identity of one of the offenders, pinning their likely location as Colombia. The CAC unit confirmed their hypothesis, uncovering a number of clues and prepared a comprehensive victim identification report for Colombian authorities.

Upon reception and investigation, Colombia’s national police confirmed the location and identity of the children and the two offenders. They found that the mother and aunt had been using specific platforms to produce and sell made-to-order, live sexual abuse video material for ‘customers’ abroad.

On 22 February, Colombian authorities carried out a coordinated rescue-and-arrest operation, working with child protection services to safeguard the children and ensure they receive medical and psychological care.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said, “This appalling case shows that live streaming child sexual exploitation is not confined to any region, it is global, and as in this case, usually involving very young children.

“We will continue to work with Colombian investigators to analyse seized devices, identify further victims and review data to find the individuals who were ordering and facilitating the horrific abuse from behind their screens,” concluded Secretary General Stock.

Today the ICSE database links 68 countries and connection of additional countries is ongoing. Since its launch, the database has assisted in the identification and documentation of more than 33,000 victims and 14,900 offenders worldwide.