The “Boystown” platform on Darknet was used to exchange pornographic material with footage of abused children. It has approximately 400,000 members worldwide.Four men were reportedly arrested in Germany Debord.
According to the Central Office of Anti-Cybercrime (ZIT) of the main state prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt am Main, confirmed to ARD that the operator of the platform was arrested in mid-April. The investigation was conducted by the German Federal Criminal Police.
The main suspects are four men with German nationality: the platform administrator and operator are 40 years old from Paderborn, 49 from Munich and 54 years old in Paraguay. The 64-year-old from Hamburg is accused of being one of the most active members.
Since April 14th and 15th, the three suspects have been detained in Germany. During the arrest, seven buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Hamburg were searched. The 54-year-old Paraguayan is wanted by an international arrest warrant-he should be extradited to Germany. After the main suspect was arrested, investigators shut down the platform.
According to the National Prosecutor’s Office, users of the platform can exchange pornographic materials and child recordings on Darknet. It is said that the platform has existed since at least June 2019. These servers are located in the Republic of Moldova and are rented there.
According to the information, most abuse scenes show boys of different ages, including the most serious cases of child abuse. The platform includes a forum, which is divided into different areas in which abusive footage can be stored and searched.
In addition, there are two chat areas where members can communicate and share materials. According to investigators, the 64-year-old from Hamburg is particularly active. He has shared about 3,500 pictures or videos on the platform.
The three platform operators allegedly provided members with instructions on how to surf safely-that is, not to be found. At the initiative of Germany, Europol established an international investigative working group. Law enforcement agencies in Sweden, the United States, Australia and Canada participated in the investigation.
Since the platform can run on Darknet (which can be browsed anonymously), investigations are particularly difficult. For investigators, shutting down the platform and arresting so-called operators has achieved great success in combating the spread of so-called child pornography (that is, child sexual abuse scenes).
“Boystown” has 400,000 members, which is many times the size of the “Elisium” platform that has 111,000 users and closed in June 2017. It is considered the largest of its kind, and it is also managed by Germany. Two years ago, the operator of the platform was sentenced to three years and ten months to ten years and nine months in prison.