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Project spade saves children

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Post by Olympicana_Reloaded on 14.11.13 20:54

Project spade saves children 20131114_spade

Toronto Police worked with numerous law enforcement agencies during the operation, including Australian, Spanish and Mexican officers who attended the press conference. Police agencies from South Africa, Hong Kong, Norway, Ireland, Greece, Gibraltar and Sweden also participated in the huge operation.

“The success of this investigation confirms that, when we work together, regardless of the borders that divide us, we can successfully track down not only those that prey on our most vulnerable, but also profit from it,” said Beaven-Desjardins.

USPIS acting deputy chief inspector Gerald O’Farrell said international co-operation is the most effective way to identify, track and combat those who sexually exploit children without regards to border.

“…These 386 children have had their lives altered forever,” he said.

“The images of them become a permanent record. In this operation, the victims were all pre-pubescent with some as young as five years of age.”

O’Farrell said the investigations spanned all segments of society. They included an attorney and youth baseball coach in Washington state who pled guilty to producing more than 500 videos of children – under the age of 16 – who he sexually molested; a Georgia school employee who pled guilty to receiving child pornography and admitted to placing a hidden video camera in students’ restrooms in an effort to film their genitals; a pre-school teacher who pled guilty to producing child pornography while he was employed in Japan and a Texas police sergeant who pled guilty to producing a video of a child involved in sexually explicit conduct.

“We in the USPIS remain committed to strengthening our cross-border partnerships as well as developing new relationships with law enforcement around the world,” he added.

“This investigation solidified the fact that we all achieve a common goal of protecting children from exploitation when we work together.”

Chief William Blair concurred with O’Farrell.

“I think one of the most extraordinary things we are witnessing today is the national and international cooperation from law enforcement to deal with one of the most important challenges facing us,” he said.

“There is no greater responsibility, for those of us who have sworn to serve and protect, than the protection of our children. The exploitation of children is a crime for which law enforcement comes together, united around the world, to do our very best to protect those individuals who can’t protect themselves.”

Signy Arnason, the director of, also spoke at the press conference.

Operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the organization’s mandate is to protect children from online sexual exploitation by receiving and processing tips from the public, referring relevant leads to law enforcement and/or child welfare agencies and providing the public with information and other resources as well as support and referral services.

“The work of all law enforcement agencies in Canada and abroad should be commended today,” said Arnason.

“As a child protection agency, we are grateful for all of the work that you do. This is an important day for Canadian children as well as children from other countries and sends a strong message that child sexual abuse will not be tolerated… This announcement only serves to underscore the important difference ordinary citizens can make in the fight to reduce child victimization, a fight that no entity in this country or around the world could wage on their own.”

She said the arrest of individuals whose professions or volunteer work provided them with easy access to children should serve as a wake-up call to Canadians.

“We need to do a better job of creating safer environments for children and implement policies that hold adults to a higher standard of conduct when interacting with children in their care,” said Arnason.

“We are not powerless. It is in our control.”

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Post by Guest on 14.11.13 22:26

I don't know what to say ... On one hand I am impressed with the results of international collaboration of law enforcement on criminal investigation! On the other hand I'm shocked, shocked! by the numbers of abused and abusers, especially since I sense, that - however well this operation went - it may be the top of an iceberg sad 

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Post by Olympicana_Reloaded on 16.11.13 0:14

Child porn bust: The woman who led the hunt for predators

Toronto Police Detective Constable. Lisa Belanger spent months following leads as part of Project Spade, an investigation into a child pornography ring.

For much of 2011, Detective Constable Lisa Belanger woke up, drove to work and took her seat in a film screening room, where she would spend the days with her colleagues watching videos of naked young boys.

It’s a job description created after the arrest of Brian Way, a former website operator in Toronto now facing child pornography charges. Police allege he sold sexually explicit videos that featured young, naked boys.

Belanger, a 13-year veteran who has been with the force’s sex crimes unit since 2009, is the lead investigator in the case, one of the biggest child pornography rings Toronto police officers have ever investigated.

“I’ve never laid that many charges on anybody,” says the 38-year-old officer. “It got quite exhausting getting through it all.”

The allegations have not been proven in court and Way, who is in police custody, has declined requests for an interview.

Belanger earned her the nickname “Bones” early in her career, at least in part because of the striking physical resemblance she bears to fictional TV crime-fighter Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan.

Belanger’s work on the case hasn’t been far off from television drama — long hours, forensic attention to detail and following leads around the world. She has had to contact colleagues in at least a dozen countries to share information.

“I’ve enjoyed the international aspect a lot, how some countries do things differently and how some countries are just learning how to prosecute these types of cases.”

Born in Ottawa, she has been in Toronto her entire career. She is married and is a new mother — a role she has managed alongside a gruelling child pornography investigation.

“It was difficult and sad seeing (the boys) grow up on screen. There was such a huge volume that you’d see one boy when he’s 11 and then you see him later in adult films. You’d see him grow up and go through physical changes. And you realize how much of his life was spent in front of a camera.”

In that way, this became a far more personal assignment for Belanger than most.

“In most cases, we may or may not recognize the kids. In this case, we definitely got to know all of them.”

As a mother, the case has provided a revealing first-hand look at the power of the Internet.

“It’s helped me keep in touch with the social media and Internet world where I think a lot of parents feel disconnected because they don’t have the time or knowledge to know what’s out there. There are a lot of dangers out there for kids, but also a lot of good things. The main thing is to have those controls — know what they like to do but give them some freedom and have the communication lines open.”

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