Thirteen arrests and 21 complaints. It is the balance of the massive operation of the Police, also kept undercover, against the sexual exploitation of minors online. The charges against the suspects are of disclosure, transfer and possession of child pornography material. In total, more than 250,000 files were seized. The people involved are of different ages and backgrounds, from young to old, from self-employed to graduates.
The investigation, which lasted a year and a half, was conducted, under the direction of the Public Prosecutor of Palermo, by the Postal and Communications Police Department for Western Sicily with the coordination of the Central Service at the National Center for the fight against child pornography on -line. The investigation starts from the monitoring activity carried out by all the Italian departments both on file sharing channels, as well as on chat platforms and on the dark web, virtual places where investigators made use of undercover agents.
In October 2019, the Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Office authorized the carrying out of undercover activities involving the national coordination of the Postal and Communications Police Service. The operators, who infiltrated specific channels of exchange of illicit material, considered reliable by the suspects thanks to the anonymity guaranteed by the network, were able to identify the users through which the connections were made, tracing people residing in 13 different Italian regions.
The results of the undercover work together with the computer investigations, the inspections, the shadowing led the judicial authority to order searches throughout Italy. In the homes of the suspects, numerous computer devices were seized by the Postal investigators, also used for storing files, often hidden in containers such as test tubes and drug packs. A large amount of child pornography files were found in 13 people: arrest was ordered for them. Another 21 were reported.
People of different ages and categories end up under investigation: from civil servants, to professionals, from people with limited education to graduates. “This, testifying to the transversal diffusion of the phenomenon”, explain the investigators. Investigations are still underway on the images and frames of the seized material in an attempt to give a name to the little victims of abuse to allow them to be made safe.