Major international police investigation into ‘live distant child abuse’

Between 24 and 28 June 2024, Europol hosted an investigation targeting buyers of live distant child abuse material.

The initiative brought together representatives from the USA and across Europe including the UK.

A team of 32 investigators processed and developed leads generated from investigations of United States Homeland Security Investigations into criminal networks said to be sexually exploiting children in the Philippines.

The investigators analysed tens of thousands of child sexual exploitation images and videos, along with over 10 million lines of online conversations between approximately 12,000 unique criminal customer accounts and 100 seller accounts.

The investigators worked on huge volumes of data, which had been generated over 12 years. As each criminal buyer and trafficker is arrested, their digital footprint – such as chats, transaction data, location data, and IP addresses – is used to investigate more trafficking networks.

The immediate result was the production of information packages, which may lead national authorities of 24 countries to 197 buyers of live distant child abuse.


What happens next?

UK police forces will now consider the evidential packages. It is expected that numerous arrests will be made over the next few days and weeks.

If you believe that the police may be interested in speaking to you, it is important that you obtain specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

Our criminal team stands ready to advise you on all available options and have extensive experience of dealing with complex cybercrime investigations.


How can we help?

We make sure that we are up to date with any developments in legislation and case law so that we can give our clients the best possible advice. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Tarsem Salhan at or on 0121 605 6000.