Pedophilia: investigation into 30,000 suspects in the state of Rhineland-Westphalia in Germany
Last fall, a man was arrested in Bergisch-Gladbach, near Cologne. He is accused of having mistreated and raped children for years as well as of sharing videos of his abuse with other pedophiles (illustration image). REUTERS / Wolfgang Rattay
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Germany wants to clean up pedophile networks on the internet. The state of Rhineland-Westphalia is currently investigating 30,000 people suspected of being linked to a vast network of child abuse.
Last fall, a 42-year-old man was arrested in Bergisch-Gladbach, near Cologne. He is accused of having mistreated and raped children for years and of sharing videos of his abuse with other pedophiles. Investigators then discovered a much larger pedophile ring than they had imagined, explains the Minister of the Interior of Rhineland-Westphalia Peter Biesenbach. “ I could never have imagined the dimension already reached by pedophilia on the networks. Our investigation relates only to the Bergisch-Gladbach affair and is aimed, I hope you are well seated, at 30,000 suspects, ”he said.
So far, the identities of the 30,000 suspects are unknown. What is certain is that it is an international network with strong roots in Germany. Members communicate in dark net forums, says prosecutor Markus Hartman: " Those who hesitate to act are motivated by others. They are taught how to rape for the first time in an effective manner. "
Six prosecutors and a whole team of computer scientists set out to track down pedophiles, with the aim of removing them from anonymity. The trial of the man arrested last year is due to start next August.
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