Operation Koala: face haunts pedophile-busters
Posted in: Child Protection&Online Safety at 11/03/2008 02:52
It's a face that haunts police around the world.
A young girl, probably now nine, who has grown up from infancy on film - thousands of pictures and movies shot of her being molested by an abuser who then shared the images with a network of like-minded internet pedophiles.
As a two-year Queensland-led investigation culminated last weekend with the arrest of 22 people in eight countries, the relief and celebration at busting one of the world's longest-running and most sophisticated internet pedophile rings was muted by the knowledge that the girl was still out of reach of protection.
Despite the best efforts of Task Force Argos, the Queensland Police Service's much-lauded child sex unit, and their international counterparts, including the FBI, there are only two things the investigators know about the girl: the country in which she lives and that she is now in real danger.
au: Cyber pedophile ring cracked
Hunched over their computers in homes around the world, the network of pedophiles devoured the horrific images of children that flashed up on their monitors from their vast library.
Using highly sophisticated double encryption codes and stringent vetting procedures, the predators remained confident their evil activities in the cyber world were completely secure.
For four years they commissioned and traded in hardcore, sadomasochistic images of children as young as two.
Hundreds of children around the world were exploited and subjected to hideous sexual abuse to feed the twisted desires of the secret network, known as "The Group", whose members police believe knew each other only through the cyber world.