The trail of 30 thousand pedophiles operating on dark web begins in Germany: the world’s largest pedophile network

The trial against Jörg L., one of the defendants in the case of a pedophile network detected in Germany, will begin on 17 August. According to cybersecurity specialists, research against this individual has revealed a gigantic network of child abuse.

In the eyes of his neighbors and relatives, he was an ordinary citizen; one each normal with a small garden like that of any other middle-class citizen hid a hard-to-believe secret. After a series of previous inquiries, the local authorities raided the home of Jörg, revealing the stark truth behind this normal man’s facade.

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Jörg L’s house

The 43-year-old man was accused of sexually abusing his young daughter, as well as recording the crime in videos that were shared on illegal internet sites, platforms where  Jörg L. was known as “purple06789 Homer Simpson” or “Bullseye”. The activity related to these pseudonyms was the starting point for the investigation of the German authorities. After tracking down the person behind these aliases, police discovered a network of at least 30,000 anonymous users who shared explicit sexual material involving minors.

A special unit for cybercrime research

The German authorities created the “Berg Unit” specifically for the investigation of this case. Throughout the investigation, the 150 people in this unit were dedicated to reviewing multiple platforms on dark websites dedicated to child sexual abuse. Lisa Wagner, a member of the Berg Unit, mentions: “Agents are dedicated to the analysis of thousands of photos and videos with explicit material; this work has even required psychological support for our staff.”

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Lisa Wagner, from Berg Unit

This analysis work aims to identify any minimal indication that could lead to the capture of a sexual predator, which represents a hope for thousands of children around the world who are living through this nightmare. Since its inception, the Berg Unit has identified at least 85 suspects and saved nearly 50 children, including a baby as young as 3 months old, as Markus Hartmann, a prosecutor in the city of Cologne, said. Hartmann, director of the Central Office of Cybercrime, is in charge of investigating serious cybercrime, such as online child pornography.

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Prosecutor Markus Hartmann

The German authorities have increased their efforts against this criminal activity considerably. While this is a great effort, it is also an indication of the growth of child abuse in this country: “Since the detection of the first suspects we have not ceased to find new involved, they all form an immense network that facilitates things for these criminals,” Hartmann adds.

The Berg Unit has also identified at least 3,000 cases of “cyber grooming”, a practice of sexual violence against minors on the Internet in which adults register on social media using photos of teens in order to obtain intimate videos or photos. However, the number of sexual offences against minors is much higher: “It may be about 7 times larger than the incidents detected so far,” says Johannes-Wilhelm Rurig, commissioner of the federal government for the prevention of child sexual abuse. He has been in office for nine years and has been talking about most of this time about the colossal scale of child sexual abuse, demanding that the fight against this crime be perceived as a national security task.