Web site sting smashes child porn ring

Italian investigators break child porn ring in a major online operation

Police in Italy have shattered an international child porn ring using a fake Web site to snare more than 1,500 users.

Investigators have charged 831 people in Italy with purchasing material involving sex with minors and are investigating a further 660 elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the US.

Italian authorities have also issued an international arrest warrant for the suspected Russian ringleader, allegedly responsible for kidnapping and child prostitution. Other suspects, including some in Britain, could face an international arrest warrant if they try to leave their countries.

The major international bust follows the first successful prosecution of an Internet paedophile in Britain. Its success may increase calls in this country for more proactive policing of the Internet, aimed at capturing predatory paedophiles.

Italian detectives used a fake Web site offering child pornography to trap suspects. After receiving more than 5,000 requests at the site, up to 400 computer investigators traced individuals via their phone numbers.

Russian suspects Dimitry Viktor Kuznetsov, Andrea Valery Minayev and Dimitry Valery Ivanov are alleged to have colluded in the operation of a child porn ring worth £410m.

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