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Hundreds arrested worldwide in child pornography case, 386 kids rescued|
Canadian police revealed that 348 people have been arrested and 386 children rescued as part of a three-year child pornography investigation codenamed ‘Project Spade.’
Local authorities arrested 108 people in Canada. Another 76 were apprehended in the US and 164 were detained in other countries during the investigation.
Among those arrested were people who have close interactions with children on a daily basis, including doctors, school teachers, foster carers, and even priests, according to Toronto Police inspector Joanna Beavan-Desjardins.
The focus of the investigation was on Toronto-based firm Azov Films, which reportedly sold DVDs and streamed videos of naked children. The company exported films to 94 countries, police stated.
"It is alleged that officers located hundreds of thousands of images and videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children - some of the worst they have ever viewed," police told reporters on Thursday.
The head of the company, identified as Canadian Brian Way, 42, was arrested in May 2011 and charged with 11 offenses. The company was shut down. Beaven-Desjardins added that 45 terabytes of child pornography were found on computers and seized.
Way is accused of instructing people to make child pornography all over the world and distributing the footage internationally. Victims ranged from five to 12 years of age.
Police said they found and rescued 386 children around the world who were identified as being at risk.
Authorities used Azov Film’s database to identify customers ordering child pornography. Many of the addresses were in the US. Other countries included Australia, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, Norway, Greece, and Ireland.
At the home of one of the individuals arrested, police found over 350,000 images and 9,000 videos depicting child abuse. Moreover, the individual allegedly knew some of the victims and was a retired school teacher.
Other perpetrators included a school employee from the US state of Georgia who videotaped students by placing a hidden camera in bathrooms used at the school.
Another school teacher already pleaded guilty to making child pornography while teaching in Japan.