Europol’s Asian City Child Abuse Photographs Geolocated
Since 2017 the European Union Agency of Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, has been crowdsourcing parts of or heavily censored photographs, related to child abuse crimes in their “Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object” campaign.
Within two weeks after the start of their campaign Europol received 10.000 contributions from the public. Bellingcat, among many others, shared this campaign on the crowdsourcing platform Check. Many followers of this campaign have helped by identifying objects and/or geolocating photographs. The location of a photograph in a hotel room was proved to be taken in a hotel on Mauritius within 48 hours after Europol shared the photograph on Twitter.
Europol published a press release on the success of their campaign earlier this year and mentioned that out of 70 objects, 25 of them were identified to one country or else to a reasonable number of countries of production and on 1 June 2018, one year after the start of the campaign, a press release describes that Europol received 21.000 tips and more objects and countries of production were identified. Another press release from October 2018 makes clear that eight children have been identified and one offender has been arrested because of citizen efforts.
Europol shared new images on their website and via Twitter on 15 October 2018. These were mostly of objects that need to be identified, but there were also a few photographs that were taken outside and are possible to geolocate because of recognizable landmarks. Two of these photographs, taken from a roof of a building, show concrete buildings, and were presumably taken in an Asian city. According to Europol, a child was sexually abused in this city. Europol’s investigators need the location of the photograph to be able to trace the abuser and save …read more