In an investigation including various European authorities, including Europol, 184 people around the globe have been arrested–with over 670 suspects being identified–in connection with what is believed to be the world’s largest online pedophilia network.
The investigation spanned over three years and focused on a Netherlands-based website, boylover.net, which supposedly had over 70,000 members at one point. Initially, the site was a discussion forum where its members could openly discuss their fantasies and sexual desires, but members began contacting each other through other private means, such as email, where they traded illegal images and videos. In January of last year, Europol seized a copy of the website’s server, rebuilt the discussion forum offline, and pulled their info from said offline forum, which they then sent out to appropriate authorities in regions with suspects around the globe.
Authorities estimate that 230 children have been rescued by the appropriately-named “Operation Rescue,” which is the largest number of children ever rescued as the result of this type of investigation. The countries involved includes the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Poland, and Romania. Europol expects m0re suspects and victims to be identified in the coming months.