Trafficking in Human Beings, Child Pornography
Assessed case number:
LG Limburg, Urteil vom 07.03.2019, 1 KLs - 3 Js 73019/18
Brief description of the case
This case concerns the dissemination of child sexual abuse material through darknet forums by an organized criminal group as well as the sexual abuse of children by members of the group. The defendants in the case concerned were already a part of the online pedophile scene before they got together with several already prosecuted offenders to create private forums and chat rooms, including the Giftbox Exchange and Elysium. After registering to these platforms, the defenders were given increasing number of tasks to maintain the operations of the sides and accordingly, were promoted into leadership positions, if they didn’t already have such positions from the start. The purpose of the chat rooms and private forums were to faciliate a safe exchange environment of as many recent photos and videos displaying child secual exploitation between the members. Since the members were also active on other sites, the exchange led to the uncontrolled dissemination of such material on the internet.
Four defendants were identified within the case, undertaking maintenance and operational responsibilities of the forum, initially being Giftbox Exchange. In the course of investigations, taskforce Argos of the Queensland Police Service was able to associate the forum with and Australian service provider, which led the defendants to notice the situation and shut down the chat servers. Later, another platform was created (Elysium) by the four defendants. In order to log in and have unlimited access to content, users had to register with a username and password. The obligation to post material for verification purposes was, contrary to the Giftbox Exchange (TGE), not introduced, which led to the registration of a large number of users within a short amount of time. At the time of the takedown of the platform (the night from 12 on the 13 June 2017), Elysium had 111,907 registered users.
According to the analysis conducted, approximately 45% of seized videos analyzed were child sexual exploitation material that had not previously identified.