Between 24 and 28 June 2024, Europol hosted an investigation targeting buyers of live distant child abuse material.

The initiative brought together representatives from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

32 investigators processed and developed leads generated from investigations of United States Homeland Security Investigations (US HSI) into criminal networks said to be sexually exploiting children in the Philippines.

The investigators analysed tens of thousands of child sexual exploitation images and videos, along with over 10 million lines of online conversations between approximately 12 000 unique criminal customer accounts and 100 seller accounts.

The investigators worked on huge volumes of data, which had been generated over 12 years. As each criminal buyer and trafficker is arrested, their digital footprint – such as chats, transaction data, location data, and IP addresses – is used to investigate more trafficking networks.

The immediate result was the production of information packages, which may lead national authorities of 24 countries to 197 buyers of live distant child abuse.

What happens next?

UK police forces will now consider the evidential packages and a large number of arrests will likely be made over the next few days and weeks.

If you believe that the police may be interested in speaking to you, you must obtain legal advice as soon as possible.

Our criminal team stands ready to advise you on all available options and is well-versed in dealing with complex investigations of this type.


How can we help?

We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our team of criminal defence specialists on: 01376 511819