Categories: SecurityWorkspace

British Police Help Dismantle Online Child Abuse Ring

The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced the arrest of 29 individuals in an investigation into live streaming of child abuse.

In a joint operation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 11 of the gang that facilitated the live streams were arrested in the Philippines.

Fighting child abuse

The remainder of arrests were of those suspected of paying online for the live abuse of children. The NCA said 15 children in the Philippines aged between 6-15 were identified and given protection from further abuse.

Some of the abuse ring were members of the children’s own families.

In the UK, 17 arrests were made, resulting in five convictions, nine investigations ongoing and one that required no further action. Two individuals are now deceased.

Two of the convicted British suspects, Timothy Ford and Thomas Owen, were sentenced to eight and a half years and seven years respectively. They were seen discussing plans to move to the Philippines to abuse children.

The NCA said three other investigations are currently looking into the live streaming of child abuse, which have thus far identified 733 suspects, 139 in the UK.

“This investigation has identified some extremely dangerous child sexual offenders who believed paying for children to be abused to order was something they could get away with. Being thousands of miles away makes no difference to their guilt. In my mind they are just as responsible for the abuse of these children as the contact abusers overseas,” said Andy Baker, deputy director of the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre command.

“Protecting the victims of abuse is our priority and that means attacking every link in the chain, from dismantling the organised groups who are motivated by profit through to targeting their customers.”

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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