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Global pedophile webcam ring smashed by joint police operation

An international pedophile group that arranged “heinous” child sexual abuse on live webcams has been dismantled by a joint operation between U.S. investigators and other forces across the world, officials said Wednesday.

“Children have been rescued from a living nightmare,” said James Dinkins the executive associate director of the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The group responsible for these heinous crimes mistakenly believed that they could use technology to avoid detection, but they were wrong.”

The crime group arranged for children to be sexually abused live on webcam in exchange for payment. Some of the facilitators were members of the children’s own families.

The investigation began after British police found indecent videos on computers on a routine visit to the home of a registered sex offender.

After contacting the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre, they alerted colleagues in the United States, Australia and the Philippines. The coalition began a global investigation recording online conversations between the offenders and their financial transactions.

To date, there have been 29 international arrests, including 11 in the Philippines, where 15 children between the ages of six to 15 have been rescued and placed into protective custody.

But Dinkins said the investigation was ongoing.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with our international law enforcement partners across jurisdictions and national boundaries to protect children anywhere in the world and bring criminals to justice regardless of where they live,” Dinkins said.