Over 100 charged in Canadian child exploitation ring
The month-long police operation, called Project Maverick, was conducted in October as a strategy to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet.
Across Ontario police services were involved in 277 investigations resulting in the seizure of more than one thousand electronic devices and finally laying 428 charges against 107 people.
Police officials say the numbers are shocking.
"Online sexual offenses don’t have any borders and go well beyond our jurisdiction," Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Paul MacIntyre said. "The internet and rapid growth of technology have given predators the opportunity to exploit children anywhere in the world. And unfortunately the numbers continue to grow."
Police also said Project Maverick identified 61 victims and another 60 children were at increased risk of exploitation.
The offenses include possession, accessing, importing, distribution and the making of child pornography, luring a person under sixteen, sexual assault, sexual interference and failing to comply with a court order. Police in Toronto were also identify a person online who was allegedly planning to kidnap and abuse young children.
Police said there are still 175 ongoing investigations, that may result in more charges
The operation comes as police say sextortion and self exploitation among children and teens are on the rise.