43 Arrests, At Least 140 Child Victims in International Porn Probe

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Forty-three men have been arrested in two years in what the Associated Press calls “a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unraveled like a sweater with a single loose thread.” In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny. The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks, and chatting online about abducting, cooking, and eating youngsters.

Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims and say there is no end in sight as they go through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects’ computers. They are trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies. The investigation has been code-named Holitna, after a river in Alaska with many tributaries. “They are the worst of the worst,” said Bruce Foucart, agent in charge of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in Boston. “This isn’t just a child that’s nude and someone’s taking pictures of him; this is a child that’s being raped by an adult, which is horrific.”

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