Sydney, Australia, Aug 8 (EFE).- Police have charged 19 men and removed 13 Australian children from harm during an investigation into a “sophisticated” dark web child abuse network, authorities said Tuesday.
Some of the 13 children rescued in the operation carried out across the country were “directly abused, others were removed as a child safety precaution,” the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.
Most of the 19 alleged offenders, whose ages range from 32 to 81, “were employed in occupations that required a high degree of ICT knowledge” and some are also accused of having “produced their own child abuse material to share with other members of the network,” the AFP added.
“Network members were able to search for and distribute images and videos of child abuse material and allegedly used encryption and other methods to avoid law enforcement detection,” it said.
In June, a public servant in the Australian Capital Territory was sentenced to 14 years and six months’ jail after pleading guilty to 24 charges, and a call center operator in New South Wales was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to possessing an estimated five terabytes of child abuse material, the AFP said.
Operation Bakis had its origins in the February 2021 murder of two US FBI agents when they were preparing to carry out a search warrant for related investigations in Florida.
The FBI investigation has led to 79 arrests for alleged involvement in the network.
“Criminals using encryption and the dark web are a challenge for law enforcement, but Operation Bakis shows that when we work together we can bring alleged offenders before the courts,” AFP Commander Helen Schneider said. EFE