Law Enforcement Uncover Global Child Pornography Ring
An FBI shootout two years ago has led to the uncovering of an international child pornography-sharing ring. Officials announced last week that a joint operation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has yielded 79 arrests in the U.S. and 19 in Australia.
In February 2021, two FBI agents were shot and killed by a child sex abuse suspect while searching the man’s apartment in Florida. The investigation those agents were involved in grew in scope and took on global proportions when an online group was discovered creating and sharing child sex abuse content and child pornography. According to AFP officials, the group operated on the “dark web,” a nebulous and anonymous area of the internet not indexed by search engines and accessible only with the use of specific software programs. The child abuse ring used complicated encryptions to avoid detection while sharing child pornography with each other. Helen Schneider, a commander with the Australian Federal Police, noted, “The lengths this network went to [to] avoid detection is an indication of just how dangerous they were.”
In 2022, after discovering the international breadth of the network, the FBI began coordinating with the AFP to identify and target the creators and traffickers of the child sex abuse material. A majority of those involved in the network were computer experts: software engineers, web designers and developers, computer programmers, and information and communications specialists. According to Schneider, some of those arrested had been committing offenses for at least 10 years.
Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the law enforcement officers who tackle this ugliest of crimes. … The normalization of the heinous idea of children as sex objects has happened because of essentially anonymous porn use/addiction, delivered by an industry with billions of dollars behind it.”
The FBI’s legal attaché for Australia, Nitiana Mann, said in a statement, “The complexity and anonymity of these platforms means that no agency or country can fight these threats alone.” Kilgannon asked, “Why do we tolerate this? The First Amendment doesn’t protect child exploitation. But it is used to defend a ‘right’ to pornography that is itself exploitative and drives child exploitation. Why are we settling for that?”
Pedophilia and child sex abuse have been hot conversation topics of late. Earlier this year, the film “Sound of Freedom” reignited the conversation, depicting the real-life efforts of former Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard in combatting child sex trafficking. Despite tackling such horrific real-life situations, the film was derided by leftist media pundits, who smeared it as a “Qanon conspiracy theory,” although it is based on real events. Meanwhile, those same pundits promote exposing children to pornography and the idea of “minor attracted persons,” a “sexual orientation” which endorses adults having sex with children.
On the child sex abuse subject, conservatives often point out that while child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein mysteriously died in prison and his partner Gislaine Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison sentence (out of a possible maximum of 65 years), none of Epstein’s and Maxwell’s child sex traffic clients have been arrested, charged, or in many cases even exposed.
Addressing the growing prevalence of child sex abuse, Kilgannon told The Washington Stand:
“Why are there children who can be subjected to this? These must be pretty big ‘cracks’ in ‘the system’ that children are falling through. How are we going to confront the problem of children who are sold by their own parents? Or the teenagers who sell themselves from the suburbs? The family is in crisis because it is under demonic assault. Are we going to confront this very obvious evil in defense of children? … What can be done about this problem that we seem unwilling to really see and talk about it? Sting operations like this are a good start. But our faith demands better answers than we are giving.”
The FBI and AFP operation has resulted in 43 convictions in the U.S. out of 79 arrested, and two convictions so far in Australia out of 19 arrested.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.