A huge joint law enforcement operation has seen hundreds arrested in a massive international pedophile ring bust, according to reports.
Authorities in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries joined forces to take down the child abuse network.
According to a statement from European authorities, the arrests were made around the world in a series of busts after a two-year investigation of international child pornography networks.
Law enforcement discovered files including “imagery depicting sadistic acts of sexual abuse of infants and children” after an online service provider reported in 2019 that their services were being used to share images of child sexual abuse, according to a press release from Europol, a European law enforcement organization.
A report by the New York Times reveals that the operation, led by New Zealand authorities, successfully rescued “dozens of children” during the raids.
The investigation so far has led to the opening of 836 cases and the safeguarding of 146 children internationally, the press release said.
Additionally, police identified over further 100 suspects across the EU and arrested another 46 in New Zealand alone, according to the press release.
Tim Houston, who led the operation at the Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, said the operation was so widespread that the success of the bust will now have a global impact on pedophile networks.
“This operation will have an impact on the global networks that deal in the most horrific and damaging material, and we are extraordinarily proud of the effect it will have on children’s lives around the world,” said Houston, according to The New York Times.