PJ police have announced 15 arrests in a countrywide crackdown on online paedophiles.
The detained men – all due to face magistrates for the application of bail terms – fall within the ages of 23 to 60.
Their detection resulted from “a major operation” dubbed 3P (standing for Portugal Ponto a Ponto: Portugal Point to Point), involving searches in 25 homes stretching from continental Portugal to the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.
Computers, file storage devices, smartphones and “thousands of files that contain pornography” were also seized and will now be analysed by the PJ.
The operation “resulted from the junction of several inquiries into one (large one), and involved all directories and departments of the PJ and its UPTI (IT unit)”.
As Carlos Cabreiros, the force’s director of the national unit to combat cybercrime and criminal technology, explained: “More and more synergies are being created between countries to share information in order to combat online pornography. There is a much greater monitoring of sites that share content” as well.
In a statement sent out to the press this morning, the PJ explained that much of their research went in the monitoring of peer-to-peer networks and other communication platforms, as much on the internet as on the ‘darknet’, most favoured by people suspected of committing crimes in terms of pornography and sexual abuse of minores.
The police force also reiterated warning that online paedophiles can “act and interact with children and minors every day in the context of online gaming”, beyond the habitual collecting, promoting and sharing – even producing – of child pornography content “that will later feed organised networks” and sexual abuse.