U.S. Busts Online Child Exploitation Ring That Tricked Young Boys

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The young boys thought they were chatting online with girls their own ages, tut the people to whom the boys sent thousands of lewd webcam videos of themselves were actually adult men, who then shared the videos with others worldwide on an underground child pornography website, says the Dallas Morning News. Many of the boys had no idea where the videos ended up. Federal authorities yesterday announced the arrests of 14 men who they said ran the website on special software called the The Onion Router or Tor network that allowed users to hide their identities.

The now-dismantled child exploitation ring had 27,000 members. Agents have identified 251 juvenile victims so far from 37 states and five countries. The five Dallas victims ranged in age from 11 to 16. In total, 243 of the victims were underage boys and eight were girls, said David Marwell, agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations' Dallas office. The investigation is known as Operation Round Table. It is part of an alarming trend in which “children are being enticed, tricked and coerced online by adults to produce sexually explicit material of themselves,” said Daniel Ragsdale, deputy director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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