Massive Investigation Targets Online Child Exploitation

Police Services, Agencies Combine to Protect Children

TORONTO, April 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Numerous charges have been laid following a massive, coordinated investigation by the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet.       

At a media conference in Toronto, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Chief Superintendent Don BELL announced details of the investigation, accompanied by many members of the Provincial Strategy's police partners who were instrumental in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion. Coordinated investigations were also conducted by the RCMP, South Simcoe Police Service, Stratford Police Service, St. Thomas Police, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, and United States Homeland Security Investigations. Representatives of BOOST Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) were on hand to advocate for more services for identified victims of exploitation and to enhance awareness to prevent further harm and victimization.

A total of 174 search warrants were executed, resulting in 274 charges against 80 persons, including one youth who cannot be identified under terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Charges include Sexual Assault, Possession of Child Pornography, Make Available Child Pornography, Distribution of Child Pornography, Making Child Pornography, and Accessing Child Pornography. In addition, 20 victims were identified during the investigations and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance. Drug and weapons-related charges were also laid.

Recognizing similarities with human trafficking investigations during this project, police were also able to ensure the safety of nine people who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will, including 14, 15, and 16-year-olds.

Police displayed a video showing 2,038 unique IP addresses that were broadcasting as either a "download candidate" for suspected child pornography or where the user was present on a known child exploitation website. These IP addresses were observed over the last 90 days in Ontario.  From its inception in August 2006 to March 2016 – not including this week's activities – the Provincial Strategy has completed 32,808 investigations and laid 11,408 charges against 3,310 people. During that period, 870 child victims have been identified in Ontario. Another 173 child victims were identified internationally.

A list of arrested persons and their respective charges have been appended to this media release with the exception of those involved in human trafficking (see ADDENDUM – Charged Persons). The investigation continues and additional arrests are pending.

QUOTES

"The most fundamental responsibility of any society is to protect its children.  Every child has the right to be nurtured and the right to be safe. The Provincial Strategy demonstrates the success that police services worldwide can achieve when working together and sharing our best practices and information." – Chief Superintendent Don BELL, Commander of OPP Investigation and Support Bureau

"The work being done on these investigations by skilled investigators, technical support staff and front-line officers is one of the most difficult jobs in police work. Children, teens and parents have a responsibility to educate themselves to ensure their online experiences are as rewarding as they want it to be and as safe as it needs to be. Inspector Lisa TAYLOR, Manager – OPP Electronic Crime Section

LEARN MORE:

For information regarding the accused, Municipality of Residence, and Charge Information, see ADDENDUM – Charged Persons.

The entire media kit, including a Provincial Strategy backgrounder, Addendum of Charged Persons, and video demonstration, is available on-line at http://www.opp.ca/media/provincial-strategy

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Sergeant Peter Leon, OPP Media Relations Coordinator, Phone: (705) 329-6878

RELATED LINKS
http://www.opp.ca

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