Italian police say they have broken up a child pornography ring involving sharing of illicit material, including photos of newborns, via an instant messaging platform, an AP report reads.
The investigators had discovered horrifying images of nude minors, where violent and sexual acts were being conducted on them. There were some images featuring newborns too, the police said.
Dozens of search warrants led to the arrest of three individuals who possessed the images. Around 50 people who might be related to the activities are being investigated.
According to the police, some of the pornographic material was being produced at home. Cooperation from a Canadian organization, the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, helped to expose the porn ring, the police said and expressed their thanks.
While the investigators did not reveal the platform on which the images were being shared, they said it was well-known.
On March 25, when lockdowns were being imposed on nations around the world, PornHub, a leading porn website made premium content free to encourage people to stay at home. On June 11, however, around a million people from across the world signed a petition demanding that the site be shut down as it featured minors in porn videos.
The campaign was endorsed by over 300 anti-trafficking and child protection forums and signed by people from as many as 192 countries. The campaign also calls for justice for the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.