Gardai target child exploitation day.
Garda Operation Ketch targeting child exploitation material coincides with Safer Internet Day when a new secondary schools programme will be launched to raise awareness of safe online behaviour.
Safer Internet Day takes place on Tuesday, February 6, during which
Detective Superintendent Declan Daly (Garda National Protective Services Bureau) reminded parents and guardians to maintain good communications with their children surrounding online activity.
"Children should be warned to immediately inform parents or guardians of any suspicious online approaches. If images have been sent or a request for images has been received; don’t send (further) images, don’t delete anything, preserve the communication and call the Gardaí," he said.
It follows ‘Operation Ketch’ an operation targeting those in possession and involved in the distribution of Child Exploitation Material (Child Pornography) either through Social Network sites or via File Sharing Networks.
The Operation took place from February 2 to 5 and was led by the Online Child Exploitation Unit (ONCE) at the Garda National Protection Services Bureau.
During this phase of the investigation, searches were carried out under warrant pursuant to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 across a number of Garda Divisions. The searches were carried out by newly established Divisional Protection Service Units and local Detective Units.
A total of 31 locations were searched and digital material which included thousands of images were seized for forensic examination. Child Protection concerns at all the locations searched have been addressed.
Assistance was received by the Online Child Exploitation Unit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the USA, and the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) in Canada in the targeting of these suspects.
The objective of this operation is to -
• To identify Child Protection concerns at each address and engage with Tusla.
• To identify, target and search persons suspected of distributing online Child Exploitation Material (Child Pornography).
• To send out a message to other persons who are Distributing this material that An Garda Síochána will actively identify and pursue them.