Enormous Global child sexual Abuse Community busted, 23 minors rescued

Clay Curtis
October 18, 2019

Hundreds of people have been arrested worldwide, including in Australia, after police knocked out a South Korea-based dark web child pornography site that sold gruesome videos for digital cash.

"This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield", said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

The operation led to the rescue of at least 23 child victims in the US, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.

A total of 337 site users have been arrested and charged as part of a major global takedown of the site.

The site in question is "Welcome to Video", which operated from June 2015 until March 2018 and hosted over 250,000 sexual exploitation videos of children, toddlers, and infants, which comprised of roughly over 8TB of data.

The UK's National Crime Agency discovered a link to the Welcome to Video website during their investigation into Falder.

The site's vast library - almost half of it consisting of images never seen before by law enforcement - is an illustration of what authorities say is an explosion of sexual abuse content online.

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The content seized from Son had over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos now analyzed by the government agencies had new images that have not been previously known to exist.

He is already serving an 18-month sentence in South Korea on convictions related to child pornography. Dark web sites such as "Welcome To Video" are created to be impossible to find online and it is not yet clear how the authorities managed to find and take down the site. The Federal Grand Jury has found that a 23-year-old citizen of South Korea named Zhang Woo Son used to run a website called Welcome to Video.

However, Britain's National Crime Agency said they came across the site during an investigation into a British academic who in October 2017 pleaded guilty here to blackmailing more than 50 people, including teenagers, into sending him depraved images that he shared online. As of 8 February 2018, Welcome to Video indicated on its download page that users had downloaded files more than a million times. People in 38 countries were arrested; countries include Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The authorities said that the computers have been taken into custody during the operation.

He said the bust showed that law enforcement could also track criminal activity that employs cryptocurrency transactions.

The DoJ has described this website as the largest marketplace of child abuse videos on the dark web.

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