European police agency Europol said today it had arrested 115 alleged child sex offenders, some of them teachers or caretakers, in raids across 19 countries in an operation against child pornography.
Europol said a two-year international operation targeting child sex offenders on the internet had identified five children in different countries, aged between 4 and 12, who were the victims of sexual crimes. A total of 221 suspects were identified.
"Child sexual abuse is one of the most horrific crimes so I am extremely pleased in having these offenders identified and arrested," Europol director Rob Wainwright said in a statement.
"But most of all I am glad to see that vulnerable children have been identified and saved from further harm."
The offenders had a variety of professional backgrounds. Some were teachers or caretakers and therefore had close contact with children, Europol said.
The investigation was led by Austrian authorities, who found an internet service provider being misused as a distribution channel for child pornography. Europol then analysed log files and reported back to involved countries.
Raids took place in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.