Bavarian investigators have struck a blow against operators of international child pornography platforms on the dark web. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) and the Cybercrime Central Office in Bamberg announced on Friday that several suspects had been arrested in the USA, Great Britain and Germany. They are said to have worked as administrators, programmers or moderators of the platforms.

Three Darknet platforms have been shut down. Several thousand users from Germany and abroad were active on the platforms. They distributed more than 20,000 child pornographic images and videos and published 120,000 postings there every month. “In this area too, the perpetrators must expect to be convicted and held accountable. The Darknet is also not a legal vacuum,” said LKA President Harald Pickert.

The investigations began in 2019. As part of the evaluation of the evidence seized, the Bavarian investigators were able to establish links to the USA, Great Britain and Australia. In order to jointly investigate those responsible for the platform, there was a meeting of international experts in Munich.

In Germany, a suspect was arrested in Bonn at the beginning of November 2022. The 22-year-old is said to have worked as a moderator on a platform. He is currently in custody. Among other things, he was accused of making child pornographic content available to gangs in a large number of cases, it said. This procedure is managed by the central and contact point for cybercrime in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Bamberg senior public prosecutor Thomas Goger, head of the center for combating child pornography and sexual abuse on the Internet, which is based at the central office for cybercrime, said that the LKA and the special public prosecutor’s office had meticulously determined and had shown staying power. Numerous users of the platforms have also been identified.

A man from Swabia was arrested in May 2021. More than 800,000 child pornographic images and videos were found on him. The criminal proceedings are ongoing, the LKA and the central office announced.

Central Cybercrime Press Release