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Norway Opened 33 New Cases In Operation Dark Room Child Porn Investigation

According to the Norwegian news publication newsinenglish.no, law enforcement authorities in Norway started 33 new child pornography-related cases in the past six months.

The Bergen police, who are leading Norway’s largest investigation into online child pornography called Operation Dark Room, announced on May 30 that they had opened 33 new cases in the past six months. Law enforcement authorities estimate the number of child victims to be more than 300. Investigators claimed that some of the victims experienced torture by the criminals while they had sexually assaulted them. The cases center on both physical sexual assaults of children and infants or live-streaming of sexual assaults of children living abroad. According to the police, most of the victims are from the Philippines where the production of child pornography material is somewhat popular.

Pedophiles are using chat software to connect the “service providers” and the “viewers” in the Philippines. The cost of a live cam show varies between $20 and $50. The traffickers, located in the Philippines, advertise such services, and when an “order” is received, they connect the viewers with the children who will perform sexually explicit acts in front of a webcam. The Norwegian police uncovered that for a higher fee, the viewers can watch as the representatives of the local pedophile gang perform sexual activities on the children.

Norwegian authorities reported that a considerable amount of the children victims are babies.

“Several of the children are babies, and many have been seriously abused. It seems like the use of webcams creates some distance that makes the attackers even more brutal,” Hilde Reikrås, the leader of the investigations at the Norwegian police, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Norwegian authorities reported that in one of the 33 cases, a man was sentenced for using his children to earn money by them performing sexually explicit activities.

The Norwegian police are also considering following the footsteps of Australia, a ban on issuing passports to persons convicted of pedophilia. The so-called sex tourism to Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines and Thailand, is a significant phenomenon both in Norway and Scandinavia.

“We are inclined to this proposal positively. In one form or another it will be the most relevant in the case of Norway,” NRK television commented Peter Christian Froelich, a member of the Norwegian Parliament.

Police work also meets the legal limit. Recently, law enforcement authorities were forced to release one of the key suspects, as the court considered that there is not enough evidence in the case. Another measure in the fight against pedophiles is to extend the period of the IP addresses stored by law enforcement authorities to six months instead of the current 21 days.

“The police will be able to take advantage of this possibility only if the crime was committed,” Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen said, who is a member of the coalition with the Progress Party (FRP).

As part of Operation Dark Room, law enforcement authorities identified at least 51 pedophiles so far. In total, 84 investigations are being conducted against alleged sex offenders. All of the suspects are men, most of whom are charged with sharing, producing or storing material showing sexual assaults on children. Police confiscated more than 150 terabytes of child pornography material, identified more than 5,000 user accounts on multiple chat channels. The police reported that currently, 25 officers are actively working on the case. Operation Dark Room also branches out to Denmark and Sweden.

Norwegian authorities announced Operation Dark Room at the end of 2016, where law enforcement authorities reported they had identified 51 persons, who are suspected of crimes regarding child pornography. Reikrås announced that two of the suspects were prominent public figures in Norway. In addition, two were politicians—one in office and the other a former politician. According to the Norwegian media outlet Bergens Tidende, Operation Dark Room originated from the FBI’s crackdown on the users of the dark web child pornography forum PlayPen. In May, authorities announced that they had arrested 900 suspects of the PlayPen website so far, with one in Slovakia and 42 in Switzerland.

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