Prosecutors in Germany on Tuesday, May 15, brought charges against four people accused of running an illegal child pornography website from the undergrounds of the internet.
The website, which had international connections, had about 111,000 members in total, according to prosecutors.
In June 2017, German authorities arrested a man suspected of operating the website, which was launched at the end of 2016.
The suspects, all aged between 40 and 62, could face up to 15 years in prison if they are found guilty of sexual child abuse. An investigation into the platform’s members is still ongoing.
One of the suspects was revealed to be a 62-year-old man from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech. He was charged with sexual abuse of two children, aged 4 and 6. The children were made accessible by their father, an Austrian citizen, who had contacted the suspect through the website.
Sickening StatisticsThe charges in Germany come on the heels of a new study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) that revealed “shocking statistics” on children being “groomed, coerced and blackmailed into live-streaming their own sexual abuse.”
Out of those children, 28% were aged 10 or younger. The youngest victim was just 3 years old.
Other statistics from the report revealed that 18% of the abuse was listed as Category A, which is what the IWF classifies as the rape and sexual torture of children.
The imagery had been redistributed to third-party websites where 73% of the content appeared on dedicated child pornography forums. This indicated that the images had been shared with the intention of advertising paid downloads of videos, the report notes.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) helped to draft legislation passed by the Senate on March 21 that makes it easier for state prosecutors and victims of sex trafficking to sue social media networks, advertisers, and others that fail to keep exploitative materials off their platforms.
“Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation,” Trump said. “It has no place in our world.”