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Donegal addresses searched in child porn probe

TWO addresses in Donegal have been searched as part of an operation targeting suspects involved in the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Operation Ketch 5 is the latest phase of an on-going search and recovery operation targeting suspects involved in the possession and distribution of child porn either through social network sites or via file sharing networks.

The Online Child Exploitation Unit (OnCE) at the Garda National Protection Services Bureau is leading out the operation.

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The latest phase of the operation took place between February 1 and 4  and involved searches under warrant.

Warrants to search were executed at 23 addresses across 11 counties across the country. Follow up searches are anticipated to be carried out in the next few days.

Counties where searches have taken place; –

Donegal 2
Dublin 6
Monaghan 2
Cork 6
Clare 1
Carlow 1
Cavan 1
Meath 1
Louth 1
Limerick 1
Kerry 1

Digital material has been seized for forensic examination at all addresses searched.

The timing of the operation is to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2019, during which An Garda Síochána will, in conjunction with Webwise, be promoting the ‘Be in Ctrl’ Schools Programme which aims to inform students of the risk of online exploitation, raise awareness regarding safe online behaviour and empower young people to seek help and report incidents to the Gardaí.

The Online Child Exploitation Unit (OnCE) at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) offers the following advice:

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• Protect your online life – use the maximum privacy settings.
• Be aware that people online may not be who they claim to be.
• Keep control online – do not share explicit or intimate images with anyone.

If you believe you are a victim of this type of crime, you should do the following:

1. Don’t share more, don’t pay anything.
2. Look for help. You are not alone.
3. Preserve evidence. Don’t delete anything.
4. Stop the communication. Block the person.
5. Report it to An Garda Síochána.

A spokesperson said, “An Garda Síochána wishes to reassure the community, through operations and awareness campaigns such as these and other ongoing work by the Online Child Exploitation Unit, that we will relentlessly pursue those involved in the sexual exploitation of children, including those who possess, import and distribute child abuse material.”

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