Child pornography website with 400,000 users shut down by German authorities

Joanna Taylor
·2 min read
 (ALAMY)
(ALAMY)

One of the world’s biggest child pornography websites has been shut down and its suspected administrators arrested after an international investigation into the dark web forum.

German prosecutors said in a joint statement with the Federal Criminal Police Office that three suspects, said to be the administrators of “Boystown”, and one user had been arrested.

The unnamed suspects are a 40-year-old from Paderborn, a 49-year-old from Munich and a 58-year-old from northern Germany who had been living in Paraguay for a number of years, according to the statement. German authorities have requested his extradition.

The men allegedly advised the website’s 400,000 registered members on how to evade police while using the platform to access illegal images and videos.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the platform’s most active users, allegedly uploading upwards of 3,500 posts.

Frankfurt prosecutors said that “Boystown” was “one of the world’s biggest child pornography dark net platforms” and that it has been active since at least 2019.

They added that they discovered “images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers”, most of them boys, on the site, which were watched and traded by users around the world.

The arrests were made after an international investigation was launched, headed up by a German police task force.

The task force say they cooperated with the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, as well as authorities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the United States and Canada to investigate the dark web site, searching seven buildings in Germany in connection with it.

Accessing the dark web isn’t illegal, but it does provide access to some illegal activities. It is a portion of the internet that can only be accessed with someone else’s authorisation or by using specific software and is therefore hidden from the average internet user’s view.

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