Children in Spain set up international child porn messaging group

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CHILD PORNOGRAPHY RAIDS: National Police in Spain made arrests. File image. Photo credit: Policia Nacional

SPAIN’S National Police have led an international operation against child pornography that has ended with 33 people being detained. 

Seventeen arrests have been made in Spain, with nine more people being investigated. Their average age is just 22 since 14 of them are minors. 

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One of the detainees is a 21-year-old Bulgarian who fled Italy when a house search was carried out at his home, at the request of the Spanish National Police. He fled to Spain, not realising it was the very country that was after him. He was detained at a relative’s house in Salamanca. 

Those arrested shared paedophile material, along with other content of extreme violence, through an instant messaging chat in which they came to make “stickers” showing sexual abuse of young children. 

The arrests in Spain have been carried out in the provinces of Las Palmas, Madrid, Valladolid, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Murcia, Valencia, Palencia, La Rioja, Cuenca and Salamanca, while those investigated live in Madrid, Guadalajara, Ciudad Real, Alicante and Valencia. 

An investigation started thanks to citizen collaboration through information received via email at  denuncias.pornografía.infantil@policia.es 

In total, the police operation involved 11 countries on three different continents. Operation Chemosh, which lasted 26 months, was carried out by the Central Cybercrime Unit of the National Police in collaboration with Interpol, EUROPOL and the police forces of Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, India, Italy, Pakistan, Peru, the United Kingdom and Syria. 


An email received by police warned that a WhatsApp group, formed by minors, normalised the existence of paedophilia and sexual abuse of other minors. They shared files with paedophile content, sometimes extremely serious, together with other content that was legal but was not suitable for minors due to its extreme harshness. 

Some chats involved adult foreign paedophiles who exchanged material on this subject, making police work more difficult. 

Operation Chemosh was initially conceived not only as a blow against child pornography in Spanish-speaking chat rooms, but also as an attempt to prevent young Spaniards from coming into contact with paedophile material and dangerous adults. 

The detainees in Spain belong to all social and cultural strata and do not fit a specific profile, except that they are all male and most of them are young. 

Given their youth, and taking into account the seriousness of the acts committed, it was sometimes decided not to arrest those involved, but to ‘put them under investigation’ in conjunction with their legal guardians. 

Most of those under suspicion had their mobile phone terminals in the name of their parents, who therefore were also investigated to rule out their involvement. 

Of those investigated in Spain, 14 are minors and another seven are under 25 years of age. The youngest arrested person is 15 years old. 

On the Tenerife island of La Palma, agents arrested a 19-year-old who had been initiated into the world of paedophilia through comics depicting abused minors. He then went on to actively search for underage sexual material, although he was not usually an active member of paedophile groups for fear of arrest, even though he used to encourage other members to share his paedophile material. 

One of the most dangerous of all those investigated was a 29-year-old man who not only downloaded child pornography but also tried to get other users of the group to give him contacts with underage girls in order to harass them and obtain more pornographic material. 

In Madrid, three people were arrested, including a 15-year-old boy who wanted to be the administrator of paedophile chat groups. The oldest member was a 50-year-old man with mental disabilities. 

With regard to arrests abroad, four have been made in Ecuador, two in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Peru and one in each of India, Italy, France, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Syria. 



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