#ProjectMercury, #TorontoPolice, #MyronDemkiw, #JanelleBlackadar, #onlinesexualabuse
Toronto, Apr 13 (Canadian-Media): Since 2014, Project Mercury was responsible for 153 arrests all over the world , including 16 Canadians, revealed by Toronto Police on Thursday, media reports said.
Project Mercury, a three-year international investigation into the online sexual abuse of children is a joint investigation between authorities in Canada, the U.S. and eight European countries, including the U.K., France, and Germany.
Of those convicted the sentences ranged from 30 months to 60 years, with many cases still before the courts.
The youngest victim was a 10-month-old.
"It's important to understand that this is happening to children all over the world," Toronto police Staff Supt. Myron Demkiw said at the press conference on Thursday.
Project Mercury, represented by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the U.K.'s National Crime Agency, a Saskatchewan RCMP unit and the Ottawa Police Service.Members from the Toronto police sex crimes unit joined police headquarters in downtown Toronto on Thursday.
Police said that various social networking platforms were used by the suspects
An undercover investigation launched by Toronto police after being alerted in January 25 by the National Crime Agency in the U.K of an online group using various social networking platforms to distribute child abuse material.
In July 2015, Toronto police witnessed a live-streaming event in which a six-year-old child was abused while other people from around the world commented and directed the abuser.
Police say within hours the child was rescued and the abuser was caught in Pennsylvania. More than 20 other offenders were arrested, mainly in the U.S. and the U.K.
"Unfortunately this was not the first time this happened, but I can tell you it was the last," Police Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar said.
Several other investigations uncovered similar live-streaming events.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Police Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar/Toronto Police Service