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Live streaming paedophile ring busted

January 16th 2014

Law enforcement officers from the UK, US and Australia have busted an international paedophile ring which streamed child abuse live from the Philippines. The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) is referring to this type of activity as a "significant and emerging threat".

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Operation Endeavour, has led to the arrest of 17 paedophiles in the UK and 29 other in other countries, including 11 in the Philippines who facilitated the abuse. In all, 733 suspects including 139 in this country have been identified across three separate investigations spanning 12 countries.

The investigation has also led to the rescue of 15 abuse victims aged between six and 15 years, in the Philippines.

Fifteen children in the Philippines, aged between six and 15, have been rescued after being identified as victims of the abuse.

Deputy Director of the NCA's CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) Command, Andy Baker, said: "This investigation has identified some extremely dangerous child sexual offenders who believed paying for children to be abused to order was something they could get away with. Being thousands of miles away makes no difference to their guilt. In my mind they are just as responsible for the abuse of these children as the contact abusers overseas." Mr Baker continued:
"Protecting the victims of abuse is our priority and that means attacking every link in the chain, from dismantling the organised groups who are motivated by profit through to targeting their customers."

UK Arrests

Five of the people arrested in the UK have been convicted, nine investigations are ongoing, one required no further action and two individuals have subsequently died. 'Customers' in the UK have paid over £5,000 to stream the abuse.

Two men - Timothy Ford and Thomas Owen - have already been convicted as part of Operation Endeavour. They had talked online and were planning to go to the Philippines together.

An NCA statement raid: "The use of webcams to stream live abuse, particularly from the developing world, is a significant and emerging threat according to the NCA's command. Extreme poverty, the increasing availability of high-speed internet and the existence of a vast and comparatively wealthy overseas customer base has led to organised crime groups exploiting children for financial gain."