Quebec police say baby was victim of porn ring
Jun 25, 2008 05:07 PM
THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL – Quebec provincial police allege a baby only a few months old was one of the victims of an international child pornography ring that operated over the Internet.
A two-year investigation has led to the arrest of 27 men in Quebec aged between 19 and 68.
"What we know is that most of the victims were of elementary school age and one of them was as young as a baby who was just a few months old," Sgt. Joyce Kemp said today.
"They are children who had not yet reached puberty."
Police began their inquiry in July 2006 after receiving a tip from an Internet service provider in Europe.
"The owner of a website in Germany who hosted free forums for discussion alerted authorities that some individuals were using his website to exchange juvenile pornography material," Kemp said.
She said there were nearly one million exchanges of pornography on the forums.
The 27 men have already appeared in court and most face charges of accessing and possessing material related to child pornography.
Kemp said several of the accused also face charges of production as well as possession.
A total of 29 searches were conducted in a number of regions across the province.
RCMP Const. Melanie Laroche, a spokeswoman for the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre in Ottawa, said the centre worked closely with Quebec provincial police and that information about the porn ring was sent to 28 countries.
"In this case, Canada was one of several countries that were involved in this operation after Germany established that several targets were linked to Canada," Laroche said in an interview.
She said the latest arrests were part of an international investigation into child porn which led to six people being arrested in New Brunswick in October 2007.
Tom Copeland, chairman of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, described the porn ring as "pretty frightening."
"I can't fathom how a human being can do that to another human being, let alone a child just months old," he said.
Copeland said more needs to be done in schools to warn young people about the dangers of putting information on the Internet.
"It's a huge problem that's not being addressed by the education system," he said.
"We don't have Internet safety as part of the curriculum in schools and that's something which needs to change and begin at the kindergarten level."
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