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80 people charged in online child porn bust

Last Updated Apr 28, 2016 at 7:47 pm EST

Ontario provincial police have laid charges against 80 people, including a young offender, in an online child porn bust.

They’re facing 274 charges, OPP Supt. Don Bell said Thursday, including sexual assault.

“The most fundamental responsibility of any society is to protect its children.  Every child has the right to be nurtured and the right to be safe,” Bell said in a statement.

Police identified 20 victims, who have since been offered counselling and other assistance. Police also found nine people who were working the sex trade against their will, including 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds.

The bulk of the charges relate to sexual assault, child pornography and exploitation, but police said several counts also concern drugs and weapons.

Bell said the investigation involved collaboration with the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, United States Homeland Security, and 26 municipal police forces across Ontario.

He said the wide range of ages and jurisdictions involved in the probe shines a light on how pervasive and devastating the problem is.

“The most fundamental responsibility of any society is to protect our children. Every child has the right to be nurtured and to be safe,” Bell told a news conference. “Every image of child pornography represents a child victim. Every trading or transmission of that image represents a revictimization of that child.”


Resources:

To report possible child porn: www.cybertip.ca

For survivor services: www.boostforkids.org


Click here for the full list of the names and charges. Milton daycare teacher Steven Campbell is among the people arrested.

In one incident flagged by Toronto police, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly befriended by two men who lured her with the promise of lucrative work, then shuttled her to hotels around the city to perform sexual services.

Police allege the men also sexually assaulted her themselves in a vehicle. They are now facing a total of 15 charges and appear on the list of those arrested in the provincewide sweep, which involved executing 174 warrants.

The OPP indicated that the number of people charged is expected to rise, adding they had made additional arrests on Thursday and expected more in the coming days.

But Bell said tackling the problem would involve more than simply laying charges.

“We cannot arrest ourselves out of this phenomenon,” he said. “Our community partners are extremely important. Our educators are extremely

The provincial strategy began in August of 2006. Not including these arrests, police say they have laid 11,408 charges against 3,310 people. During that period, 870 child victims have been identified in Ontario. Another 173 child victims were identified internationally.

– With Files from the Canadian Press