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Police warn parents after 41 arrested in global child sexual abuse probe

Canadian police said the case spanned 17 countries.

CANADIAN POLICE HAVE arrested 41 people in Canada and the United States for child pornography distributed through social media in 17 countries.

The suspects face a total of 110 charges in the ongoing investigation, York Regional Police said in a statement.

Nineteen child victims, including infants and teenagers, have so far been identified. Their images were distributed in 17 countries including Australia, Britain, the Netherlands and Russia.

“The abusers appear to be people that the victims trusted or online predators that coerced the victim into creating child sexual abuse materials,” police Inspector Tim Kelly told a press conference.

The investigation started with a tip about a Toronto area computer that had been used to upload illicit images.

Police traced the online activity to a “young person (who) had been a victim of child exploitation, and had been coerced into providing self-exploited images to the unknown people online,” Kelly said.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) collaborated in the investigation.

Parallel investigations

Investigators also sent case information to 350 police agencies around the world that have launched parallel investigations in their areas.

Among them was an RCMP investigation that lead to the arrest of a 24-year-old Moncton, New Brunswick man who allegedly lured boys online by pretending to be a teenage girl.

RCMP Constable Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the man contacted boys in Canada, the United States, Britain and Russia through live video chats on social media sites.

“He used a video of a teenaged girl that appeared to be live and convinced the boys to undress and initiate sex acts which he then taped and distributed via the Internet,” Rogers-Marsh said.

As many as 2,000 boys may have been victimised by the man and not even be aware of it, she added.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Mathematics scholar made ‘some of the most extreme child pornography images ever seen’>

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