Gardaí have searched 23 addresses in 11 counties as part of a crackdown on the possession and distribution of child pornography.
The Online Child Exploitation Unit at the Garda National Protection Services Bureau is leading Operation Ketch 5.
The latest phase took place since last Friday, and involved searches under warrants issued under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998,
Operation Ketch 5 is the latest phase of an on-going search and recovery operation targeting suspects involved in the possession and distribution of Child Exploitation Material (Child Pornograpy) either through social networks or file sharing.
Officers are liaising with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, regarding any child protection concerns that arise.
Searches have been carried out in 11 counties across the country. Follow-up searches are anticipated to be carried out in the next few days.
Counties where searches have taken place were Dublin (6), Monaghan (2), Cork (6), and Donegal (2).
One property was searched in each of counties Clare, Carlow, Cavan, Meath, Louth, Limerick and Kerry.
Digital material has been seized for forensic examination at all addresses searched, gardaí confirmed.
According to a garda statement, the objectives of this operation are to:
• Identify child protection concerns at each address and engage with the Child and Family Agency.
• Target persons suspected of possessing, importing and distributing online Child Abuse Material (Child Pornography).
The timing of the operation is to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2019.
An Garda Síochána will, in conjunction with Webwise, be promoting the ‘Be in Ctrl’ Schools Programme which aims to inform students of the risk of online exploitation, raise awareness regarding safe online behaviour, and empower young people to seek help and report incidentsí.
The Online Child Exploitation Unit (OnCE) at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) offers the following advice:
• Protect your online life – use the maximum privacy settings.
• Be aware that people online may not be who they claim to be.
• Keep control online – do not share explicit or intimate images with anyone.
If you believe you are a victim of this type of crime, you should do the following according to gardaí:
- Don’t share more, don’t pay anything.
- Look for help. You are not alone.
- Preserve evidence. Don’t delete anything.
- Stop the communication. Block the person.
- Report it to An Garda Síochána.
Contact the Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line at 1800 555 222.
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