A Horrific Crime Against Children Causes International Outrage

Every day, parents all over the world work to keep their children safe from danger.

There are so many frightening scenarios that we try to prevent, from accidents and injuries, to keeping our children safe from strangers and online predators.

Now, one investigation has blown open a massive international crime ring that put children at risk – and the scope will turn your stomach.

In October of 2012, a complaint was filed with the Toronto, Ontario Police Service about a possible child pornography operation.

But investigators could not have known at the time just how complex, horrific, and widespread the outcome would be.

A tip led them to a web hosting company in Toronto, where they focused on a business known as YesUp Media.

The police launched “Project Blackheath,” a joint effort of different departments to investigate.

In the buildings which housed the business, they found servers housing unspeakable images of child pornography – nearly 20,000 files of shocking images and videos.  

And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

These predators were selling memberships to their “service” all over the world, to the tune of 60,000 users, 20,000 of whom had paid for 30-day “premium” memberships, in 116 countries.

The sickening images, which investigators said were some of the most horrific they had ever seen in a child pornography investigation, had been downloaded by users some 19 million times.

Detectives referred to the operation as a “big box store” of child pornography, reaching all corners of the globe, victimizing primarily Vietnamese children.

Five men have been charged thus far, but authorities say there are still more than 300 additional suspects in related cases as the investigation continues to unfold.

And while advancements in technology are to blame for the rise in online child pornography crime rings, investigators are using technology to combat these predators.

According to the Toronto Sun, a long-time child pornography detective said that the scope of the crime is so huge that it would not have been possible to bring everyone to justice or uncover all the victims even a few years ago.

Even now, Keith Daniels says that the operation was so large that, “An analysis of victimology will not only take years but will likely never get done” completely.

The massive crime ring has made the issue of child pornography a priority for Ontario Provincial Police, who have said they receive a great deal of help from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, missing children advocacy organizations, and even private citizens.

For now, the five men have unbelievably been released until trial after surrendering their passports and being put under conditions by authorities.

They face charges of selling access and availability to child pornography and failure to report.  Police believe the men knew what was going on but continued to let it happen.

A Vietnamese man, Vinh Van Nguyen, is thought to be the ringleader and website owner.  He is currently a fugitive in Vietnam.

The Canadian “business owners” are due in court on August 1st for continuation of the case against them, and possible sentences are not yet determined.

But one thing is clear – the investigation has rid the world of at least one horrific child pornography enterprise with a global reach.

It has also brought attention to the very real dangers out there for our children in this digital age, and parents in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere are breathing a sigh of relief that at least one of these rings has been shut down.

Mommy Underground will keep you posted on any new developments in this story that has made international headlines.

What do you think of this massive crime ring and the diligence of investigators who are still working to discover all the perpetrators and victims?  Leave us your comments.

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