On Monday, German prosecutors announced that they’ve broken up a massive international darknet child pornography site that had more than 400,000 members, the Associated Press reports. In a statement, they said that three German suspects, who they claim were administrators of a platform called “Boystown,” were arrested in mid-April along with a German user. One of those arrests took place in Paraguay, where one of the men had been living for several years. Authorities also searched seven buildings believed to be connected to the ring in Germany in mid-April.
The ring was classified by law enforcement as “one of the world’s biggest child pornography darknet platforms.” Pedophiles around the globe had used it for swapping and watching pornography that contained mostly male children and toddlers. It had been running since at least 2019.
“The platform had several forums and chats — the illegal pictures and videos were kept in the forums; in the chats, the members could communicate,” said prosecutor Julia Bussweiler, according to the Associated Press. “There were several language channels to facilitate the communication.”
The platform had been under investigation for months by multiple law enforcement agencies working together. Those included a German task force, plus authorities from Sweden, Australia, the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands.
It was reported that the three main suspects who were arrested had operated as site administrators, and that in those roles they offered advice to members on how to go undetected by law enforcement while on the site. Names were not provided due to Germany’s privacy rules. The three were aged 40, 49, and 58.
As for the “user” that was arrested, he was a 64-year-old who is accused of being one of the more active users on the platform. He’s alleged to have uploaded over 3,500 posts.
The site has been shut-down.
A thanks for the takedown was given out to the authorities by Germany’s No. 1 security official
“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren’t safe anywhere,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. “That’s what investigators work for day and night, online and offline, globally.
“We’ll do everything within our power to protect the kids from these disgusting crimes.”