German prosecutors said in a joint statement with the Federal Criminal Police Office that three suspects, believed to be administrators of “Boystown”, and one user had been arrested.
The unidentified suspects are a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had lived in Paraguay for several years, the statement said. The German authorities have requested his extradition.
The men are said to have advised the website’s 400,000 registered members how to evade the police while using the platform to access illegal images and videos.
A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the platform’s most active users, having uploaded more than 3,500 posts.
Prosecutors in Frankfurt said “Boystown” was “one of the largest black child pornography network platforms in the world” and had been active since at least 2019.
They added that they had discovered on the site “pictures of the most serious sexual abuse of young children”, mostly boys, which were viewed and shared by users around the world.
The arrests came after the launch of an international investigation, led by a German police task force.
Access to the dark web is not illegal, but it does allow access to certain illegal activities. It is a part of the Internet that can only be accessed with someone else’s permission or by using specific software and is therefore hidden from the view of the average Internet user.