Police arrest 80 (pieces of shit and that is saying it in a nice way) in province-wide child exploitation investigation
A province-wide investigation into the exploitation of children online has resulted in the arrest of 80 people, including 8 from Toronto and more than a dozen others from elsewhere in the GTA.
Ontario Provincial Police say that they made the arrests during the execution of 174 search warrants over the last several weeks.
Those who were taken into custody are facing a combined 274 charges.
The charges include sexual assault, possession of child pornography, making child pornography, distributing child pornography and accessing child pornography.
A number of drug and weapon charges were also laid.
Among those arrested were a minor as well as a daycare worker from Milton that CP24 reported on Wednesday.
Police say the images that were seized depicted child sexual abuse, often featuring victims under the age of eight.
“This sweep serves as another wake up call to those who commit these monstrous crimes against our children,” Chief Superintendent Don Bell told reporters at a news conference on Thursday morning. “We will do everything we can to combat the threat that these predators pose to our children and our communities.”
Investigation spanned 27 jurisdictions
A total of 27 police services participated in the sweep as well as a number other agencies, including the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Homeland Security.
As part of the investigation, investigators tracked 2,038 IP addresses that were known to have downloaded child pornography or visited a known child pornography website over the 90 days.
Police say they ultimately didn’t have the appropriate resources to go after the people behind all of those IP addresses at once but anticipate that additional investigations will be undertaken in the coming weeks and months.
Bell, however, told reporters that it would be “naïve” to think that police have the necessary resources to take on the more than 2,000 suspected child pornography users.
“We cannot arrest ourselves out of this phenomenon,” he said. “Our community partners are extremely important, our education partners are extremely important. We have to take ownership of our children.”
As part of their investigation, police secured the safety of nine who had been working in the sex trade against their will. Police also identified 20 victims.
Though most of the suspects were charged with accessing and distributing child pornography, a number also faced additional charges of making child pornography.
“There has always been a misconception that this material is produced in third world countries but it is my experience that just as much is produced in Ontario,” Det. Staff Sgt. Frank Goldschmidt told reporters.