The General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main – Central Office for Combating Internet Crime ( ZIT ) – and the Federal Criminal Police Office ( BKA ) searched a total of seven objects in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Hamburg in an extensive investigation on suspicion of the gang distribution of child pornographic content and three Presumably responsible persons and members of one of the world’s largest child pornography Darknet platforms called ” BOYSTOWN ” arrested. At the same time, at the request of the German law enforcement authorities, another suspected gang member was searched and arrested in the Concepción region (Paraguay).
The child pornography platform ” BOYSTOWN ” existed since at least June 2019 and could only be reached via the so-called Darknet. Most recently it had more than 400,000 members. The platform was internationally oriented and served the worldwide exchange of child pornography by platform members, whereby mainly abuse recordings of boys were exchanged. The platform’s forum was divided into different areas in order to enable structured filing and easy retrieval of child pornographic content. The image and video recordings shared included recordings of the most serious sexual abuse of young children. In addition to the forum area, there were two affiliated chatsAreas that served the communication between the members and the exchange of child pornography abuse recordings of boys and girls. Various language channels were set up for this purpose in order to facilitate communication between the members.
The operational measures, which were preceded by several months of extensive investigations as part of a task force initiated by Germany under the coordination of Europol and the participation of law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the USA and Canada, were directed against four German nationals aged 40 up to 64 years.
The three main suspects are a 40-year-old man from the Paderborn district, a 49-year-old man from the Mühldorf am Inn district and a 58-year-old man from Northern Germany who has lived in South America for several years. The three men are accused of having operated the child pornography platform as administrators. In this role, they are said to have been largely involved in the technical implementation of the Darknet site, the establishment and maintenance of the server structure and member support on the platform. In addition, the members of the platform received safety instructions from them for safe surfing on “ BOYSTOWN“To minimize the risk of detection by law enforcement agencies.
The other accused, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is suspected of having registered as a member of ” BOYSTOWN ” in July 2019 and – as one of the most active users of the platform – of having posted over 3,500 posts.
The accused were arrested after their homes were searched and have been in custody since April 14 and 15, 2021, based on the arrest warrants issued by the Frankfurt am Main Local Court. There is an international arrest warrant from the Frankfurt am Main District Court for the suspect in Paraguay, on the basis of which the suspect is to be extradited to Frankfurt am Main.
Following the search, the child pornography forum “ BOYSTOWN ” and other chat platforms were switched off.