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23 children rescued, 338 people arrested worldwide in takedown of largest child porn site

WASHINGTON – More than 330 people around the world were arrested in the takedown of the largest dark net child pornography website.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted for his operation of “Welcome To Video,” which is the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content.

Authorities arrested Son on March 5, 2018.  They seized the server he used to operate the website and found eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, stating that this was one of the largest seizures of its kind.

The server contained over 250,000 videos, which are currently being examined by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and so far 45% of them contain images that officials say have not been previously known to exist.

Son is currently serving a prison sentence in South Korea and was charged by a U.S. grand jury in a nine-count indictment.

Investigators also arrested 337 Welcome to Video site users from multiple U.S. states, including Ohio, and countries, including the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Brazil, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Canada among others.

The DOJ says Welcome to Video users purchased videos by using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which helped to mask their identities.

The site was also one of the first dark web sites of its kind to monetize child porn and had over one million video downloads.

Additionally, investigators rescued 23 children in the U.S., Spain, and U.K., all of whom were actively abused by Welcome To Video users.

“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu said in a press release. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”

To read the full press release from the DOJ, click here.

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