An international investigation took down two communities and one crypto-powered market dedicated to exchanging child sexual abuse material on the deep web.
An international joint investigation led by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT) has taken down three Darknet child abuse platforms: “BoyVids 6.0,” “Forbidden Love” and “Child Porn Market.” The BKA detailed the proceedings in a recent report.
The sites had hundreds of thousands of users from around the world who participated in the distribution of images and videos of sexual violence against children. The “BoyVids 6.0” platform was established in 2021 as a replacement for “Boystown,” which was taken down in 2021. It had approximately 410,000 registered users at the time of its shutdown.
The “Forbidden Love” darknet site was established in February 2022 and had at least 846,000 registered users at the time of its shutdown. The third site, “Child Porn Market,” operated under the moniker “CP Market” and has been running since October 2022. It was used to sell child abuse material. 120 video files of sexual violence against children were recovered from it.
Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the investigations. A man from Saxony was accused of administrative duties on all those sites. He was arrested on Nov. 29. Two more men, a 44-year-old from Lower Saxony and a 45-year-old from Schleswig-Holstein, were arrested on Nov. 6 and Dec. 13, respectively. They are accused of distributing child abuse material on the platforms.
The fourth suspect, who was arrested in Brazil at the end of November 2022, is accused of being an admin of the “Forbidden Love” darknet site. Investigations targeting other suspected operators and users of the platforms are ongoing.
The shutdown of the sites in early December 2022 resulted in the recovery and removal of hundreds of thousands of images of sexual violence against children. The Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie) recently sent warning letters via email to suspected users of the now-defunct dark web child abuse site “DarkScandals” on Dec. 19.
The letters informed recipients that possession of child abuse material is punishable by law. Officials asked them to eliminate all criminal material and stop engaging in other illegal activities. The letters followed the sentencing of “DarkScandals” admin “Mr Dark” to 10 years in prison in June 2022.