Child pornography on the internet: the Vaudois police arrest nearly a hundred people

At the end of a major operation, the Vaud cantonal police arrested 96 people who downloaded pedophile content. Two were remanded in custody. The large-scale operation, carried out among others by the cyberpedophilia cell of the criminal brigade, took place from September 1 to October 31, 2022. It aimed to fight against child pornography on the internet, the Vaud police communicated on Monday.

In this context, 27 police officers devoted 153 days of work to carry out 42 searches. They led to the seizure of 311 computers, storage media and other means of communication. Residing in the canton, 96 people who downloaded or made available child pornography images or videos were arrested and then heard as defendants. Of these, approximately 15% are minors.

A total of 120 cases were handled, of which around ten concerned individuals living in the capital of Vaud. These cases were forwarded to the Lausanne municipal police for further investigation. Of all the people denounced to the Public Ministry and the Juvenile Court, two were placed in pre-trial detention. One of them is also accused of having sexually abused a minor.

International cooperation

This operation to combat cyberpedophilia was carried out thanks in particular to the denunciations made by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), based in the United States, headquarters of the main access providers through which illicit content passes. It has developed a process to identify this content and denounce it to the countries concerned.

In Switzerland, the federal judicial police (fedpol) receives these American reports, analyzes them and carries out the first research on the user with the aim of denouncing him in turn to his canton of residence. At the same time, the Cyber ​​Competence Center of the Cantonal Police of Geneva monitors the so-called “peer to peer” exchange networks and reports the illegal content targeted to the cantons of French-speaking Switzerland for further investigation.

Any broadcast an offense

If some cases are the fact of consumers or collectors of illicit files aware of their acts, the investigators note that part of the denunciations concern Internet users who share or forward illicit files for an informative or “humorous” purpose. They recall that any dissemination of prohibited pornography, whatever its purpose, constitutes an offense under Article 197 of the Swiss Penal Code.

In the event of receipt of an illicit file (representation of sexual acts with children, animals or acts of violence between adults, even if they are synthetic images or drawings), the cantonal police recommends not to pass it on further. The file should be flagged as inappropriate on the site or app using the provided link or button. Finally, law enforcement recommends reporting the case to the National Center for Cybersecurity via the announcement form.

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Child pornography on the internet: the Vaudois police arrest nearly a hundred people

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