As a reporter part of my job is sifting through hundreds of pictures and videos. The content I have seen on pedophilia is beyond disturbing. I hate viewing these images, and sometimes I still have them in my head, even now. I specifically focused on tracking pedophiles on the dark net and one must be prepared to deal with the worst. This job can only be done voluntarily, If you have young children, I would not recommend it.
Back In 2014, a task force known as Argos – a highly specialized branch of Australia’s Queensland Police Service responsible for the investigation of on-line child exploitation and abuse , started focusing on hunting down pedophiles on the deep web. Argos was not entirely composed of police officers – among the employed were detectives, hackers, and IT specialists. The head of Argos, Jon Rouse, describes the investigation as absolutely unbelievable and horrifying. However their persistence paid off, and they were able to catch the UK’s most notorious dark web pedophile.
Richard Huckle abused over 200 Malaysian children. He was apprehended and sentenced to 22 life sentences, on 19 December 2014, following an earlier tip-off from Task Force Argos. He shared the pictures and videos of his sexual exploits with children worldwide on the dark net website TLS (The Love Zone). Huckle has been described as one of Britain’s worst ever pedophiles, placing him in the notorious pantheon alongside Sidney Cooke, Jimmy Savile, and Ian Watkins.
Huckle was arrested by officers from Britain’s National Crime Agency at London’s Gatwick Airport and questioned on suspicion of a number of serious offences against children. He initially refused to answer officers questions and was bailed under the condition that he stayed at his parent’s house, while his camera, laptop and hard drives were seized.
Argos were already aware of a network of pedophiles operating on a dark web network called The Love Zone (TLZ) for some time. They noticed one member who always made posts using the unusual greeting “hiyas” and had a distinctive freckle on one of his fingers. Officers explored the Internet and social media, and eventually found a Facebook page matching the profile of the individual they were looking for, including the greeting and freckle. The profile was fake but photos of a vehicle led police to Shannon McCoole, a care worker from Adelaide. A warrant was issued for the arrest of McCoole. Upon entering his house, police discovered that McCoole, who was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, was actually online and running his dark web site at the time.
Police assumed the identity of McCoole and ran his site, which has since been closed down, in an unusual move in order to catch other pedophiles. In running the site, police rescued 85 children from ongoing abuse and arrested hundreds.One member that stuck out was Huckle, due to the number of children he had abused and the attitude of his posts. After discovering his real identity, and exploring the open Internet, they discovered that he was due to return to the United Kingdom shortly to spend Christmas with his family and then immediately alerted the National Crime Agency, who arrested him when he arrived in the UK.
Huckles first visit to Malaysia was for a teaching gap when he was 19 and he fooled everyone into thinking he was a respectable christian English teacher and philanthropist. Some of the children resided in a foster home for children, and he would sometimes take a girl out to celebrate a birthday, where he would molest them at his home in Kuala Lumpur.
Based on Huckle’s “chilling” experiences and observations – he once boasted it was easier to abuse children from poor communities than middle-class western children – the 30-year-old had drafted a “truly evil” manual for other pedophiles on the deep web that promoted child sexual abuse tourism. He had sought to profit from his crimes by attempting to sell footage to other abusers on the dark net.
Judge Peter Rook ordered Huckle to serve a minimum term of 25 years to reflect the “public abhorrence” for a “campaign of rape” that spanned nine years. I hope he burns in hell ten times over.