Dozens of police raids in Berlin on trail of child pornographers

By Andreas Rabenstein, dpa

Police in Berlin conducted raids on more than than 40 apartments and other places in the German capital from early Wednesday morning in a crackdown on child pornography.

The aim of the raids was to seize computers, mobile phones and other storage devices.

There were no arrests, but police said that they had a list of 42 male suspects between 17 and 84 years old.

The raids, which involved 250 police officers, are in connection with the suspected use and distribution of images of child sexual abuse.

The cases under investigation were not linked, said department head Norma Schuermann from Berlin’s Office of Criminal Investigation.

Most of the evidence that led to the raids came from the United States, where internet service providers had searched through internet records and provided IP addresses for possibly suspicious activity by users. German internet providers are now also required to scan their records for such activity.

This information has led to a vast number of leads, police said, meaning that there are likely to be more such individual raids and home searches.

The examination of the data on the seized computers can take up to a year.

Early this month, police in the southern state of Bavaria raided 49 premises in connection with the production of child pornography and identified 51 suspects.

Also this month, a child porn darknet platform thought to have had more than 400,000 members and internationally oriented was shut down.

Several men were arrested as suspected operators in Germany. The darknet platform’s shared images and videos also included recordings of the most serious sexual abuse of young children.

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