Civil rights organisation Action Society has applauded German authorities for shutting down a massive child pornography network this week. Speaking up against child pornography through their #Unmaskthemonsters campaign, the lobby group expects the South African Government to take the same serious action if the Swellendam farmer, who was arrested for the possession of child pornography in March, is found guilty. The 48-year-old suspect is set to appear in court again on 13 May 2021.
“We are becoming more and more aware that atrocities are happening right under our noses. How many children are exposed to sexual abuse and assault due to our dysfunctional system? South Africans must stand together to expose these sex monsters. For the sake of our children, we need to know who they are,” says Dr Rineé Pretorius, spokesperson for Action Society.
#Unmaskthemonsters urges all South Africans to demand that government creates legislation to reduce and ultimately eradicate the prevalence of child pornography in South Africa. Action Society launched the #Unmaskthemonsters campaign in April 2021 to pressure the government to declare child pornography a priority crime and request double life sentences for offenders found guilty of the possession or production of child pornography.
Another demand from the #Unmaskthemonsters campaign, which has been a strong focus for the organisation since their “Know your neighbour” campaign in 2020, is to get the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) made available to the public.
German federal police confirmed that they clamped down on the international child pornography platform named “Boystown”, with over 400,000 members in April. The German based platform which has been in operation since 2019 was one of the biggest darknet child pornography sites in the world, set up for the worldwide exchange of child pornography, in particular images of the abuse of boys.
According to reports, the extensive German-instigated operation coordinated by Europol, with support from law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands; Sweden; the United States and Canada ended in mid-April, when three suspects were arrested in seven raids across Germany. A further suspect, also a German citizen, was detained in Paraguay and will be extradited back to Germany based on an international arrest warrant issued by a court in Frankfurt. The three main suspects, aged between 40 and 64 are accused of having managed the platform as administrators, providing technical support and advice to members on how to avoid being discovered by authorities.
“The investigators have shown once again that law enforcement works in the darknet and that criminals can’t feel safe there,” said Eva Kuehne-Hoermann, justice minister of the state of Hesse, whilst congratulating the investigation and prosecution team.
Darknet sites, which operate using encryption technology are invisible to most internet users and criminals use these platforms to trade drugs, weapons and child pornography worldwide.
“The shutdown of this massive child pornography network is a victory in the international battle against sexual predators. In our continued fight of giving a voice to the voiceless we will remain focused on protecting the children of South Africa,” says Pretorius.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 5 May 2021
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Dr. Rineé Pretorius
Spokesperson: Action Society
Cell: 083 507 7782
PR: Action Society
Cell: 081 233 8351