German police have discovered an underground website for child pornography with massive users of close to 90,000 users. Prosecutors said that authorities have also arrested the suspected operator of the illegal platform.
The Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office and the BKA Federal Police said in a statement that the undercover platform called “Elysium” has existed since the end of 2016. It was built as a forum and was only accessible via the so-called Darknet.
The statement also said: “Among the child pornographic images and video files exchanged by the members of the platform were recordings of the most serious sexual abuse of children, including toddlers and depiction of sexual violence against children. “
The Darknet is considered as an area of the internet that could only be accessible through special internet browsers, allowing users to remain anonymous. The users’ activities on the platform are then untraceable. A huge part of the Darknet consists of marketplaces where users can pay for anything- be it drugs, guns, to assassinations and human organs.
The most notorious Darknet site was perhaps Silk Road, which was then run by Ross William Ulbricht, which was operated from 2011 to 2013. It was eventually closed down and Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A successor tried to resume operations with Silk Road 2.0 shortly after the closure of the first, but it was also shut down in 2014 and the alleged mastermind behind the second version, Blake Benthall, was also arrested.
The police have also arrested several users of the child pornography website, mainly from Germany and Austria. The suspected operator of the underground platform is a 39-year-old man living in the district of Limburg-Weinberg north of Frankfurt.
More horrifying is that the website with more than 87,000 users was being used for the worldwide exchange of child pornography. Prosecutors further detailed that the platform is also being used to set appointments for the sexual abuse of children.
The arrest was made on June 12when police raided the apartment of the suspected operator where authorities also seized the platform’s server.
The statement from the authorities did not clarify how many were arrested exactly, explaining that more details of the case would be made available to the media and the public at a news conference later this week.