Two Europol StopChildAbuse Images Geolocated: Part I — Madagascar
Europol is currently in possession of more than 40 million images of child sexual abuse from across the world. In June 2017, it launched a crowdsourcing campaign called Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object. Through this campaign, censored extracts from explicit images are regularly published on their website and members of the public are asked to help tracing their location or country of origin.
These tips are then used to inform a competent law enforcement authority to further investigate the lead and to assist in the identification of the offender and the victim. As of October 25, 2019, Europol has received more than 24,000 tips, which have led to the identification of nine victims and the prosecution of two offenders.
In a previous article, Bellingcat wrote about the discovery of a link between one of these images and the story of a “child modelling studio” trafficking children for the production of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in Odesa, Ukraine. On Twitter, Europol acknowledged our investigative methods which, according to them, significantly contribute to tackling online abuse.
In this new article, we will show how two new batches of images published by Europol, Group ImageG13 and Group ImageC20, have been respectively geolocated to Madagascar and Cambodia. Both locations were found to be in tourist destinations, close to hotel facilities and very likely related to sex tourism. We will present a summary of the process we followed to confirm these locations and the likely time when the pictures were taken. This is Part I of the investigation and it will deal with the case in Madagascar. The upcoming Part II will address the case in Cambodia.
Figure 1: Group ImageG13 (left) and Group ImageC20 (right) as published by Europol on their website
Nosy Kely, Madagascar
1: The Location
Group ImageG13 was geolocated …read more