TORONTO (Reuters) - Nine Canadians, including social workers and people involved with children’s organizations, have been arrested on charges of possessing child pornography purchased from a European Web site, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Tuesday.
Dubbed “Operation Koala,” the Canadian probe was part of an international investigation into sales of child porn, in which 98 Canadian are suspected.
Police said at a press conference that the nine arrested were all male. Of the 98 suspects, investigators said they were working on 50 ongoing cases and there would likely be more arrests. They said they had not been able to identify all the suspects.
“The Internet is a virtual world but the crimes on the children are real,” said RCMP Superintendent Earla-Kim McColl. “Possessing child pornography necessitates production, and all production necessitates the use, exploitation and abuse of a child.”
The arrests stem from information passed to the RCMP from European officials after the breakup of a global child pornography network last November. That investigation was launched after the arrest of an Italian running a Web site selling videos of underage girls.
Investigators said some of the videos produced by the Web site were “tailor-made” for customers: the children posed in certain positions or wore lingerie provided by the customers.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson