Dutch police join international takedown of vast darknet child pornography platform
Four people have been arrested following an international operation that broke up what is believed to be one of the largest child pornography networks ever discovered, Europol confirmed. The dark web platform, known as Boystown, focused on the sexual abuse of children and mostly featured photos of young boys. The platform had 400,000 registered users.
Three people arrested are believed to be platform administrators and the fourth is suspected to be the website's most active user, having contributed more than 3,500 posts. Three of them were arrested in Germany and one was arrested in Paraguay after police searched their homes. All four people arrested in relation to the web platform were German nationals.
"Several other chat sites on the dark web used by child sexual offenders were also seized on the same occasion," Europol said. The Boystown site also included a chat function allowing its users to communicate with each other through various channels. The platform has been active since at least June 2019.
National police units in the Netherlands and Europol joined the international task force set up by the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt) which lead to the bust. Authorities in Sweden also took part, as did national and regional authorities in Australia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the FBI.
"The image and video data seized during this investigation will be used for Victim Identification Taskforces organised on a regular basis at Europol. More arrests and rescues are to be expected globally as police worldwide examine the intelligence packages compiled by Europol," the European policing agency said.