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A network apparently using WhatsApp to distribute images of child sexual exploitation has been disrupted by dozens of arrests, according to police.
Axar.az reports that a total of 39 suspects were apprehended in Europe and South America, following action by the Spanish National Police, Europol and Interpol.
Spanish investigators discovered dark web sites directing users to private WhatsApp groups last year.
Researchers then verified these groups were used to share illegal images.
House searches conducted during the arrests had led to the seizure of "hundreds of devices containing several terabytes of child sexual exploitation material", according to Europol.
Spanish police have added that this included more than 360,000 files.
Interpol has said that "hundreds" of the images and videos discovered have been entered into its international child sexual exploitation (ICSE) database.
It allows investigators to compare such material and make connections between victims, abusers and locations by "analysing the digital, visual and audio content".
Efforts are now being made by police to identify any child victims.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has not yet commented on the investigation.
2017.04.18 / 23:44