Swedish suspects in global paedophile ring

Two Swedes are suspected of being involved in an international paedophile ring which streamed child abuse from the Philippines over the internet via webcams. In the UK, 17 people were arrested by the country's National Crime Agency, which worked for over two years with U.S. and Australian police forces to bust the international paedophile ring, the BBC reports.

The National Crime Agency said sex abuse via webcams is an "emerging threat" in the developing world.

"Extreme poverty, the increasing availability of high-speed internet and the existence of a vast and comparatively wealthy overseas customer base has led to organised crime groups exploiting children for financial gain," the agency said.

In the Philippines, 15 children aged six to 15 were rescued after being identified as victims of the paedophile ring, which is said to have arranged for children, some as young as five, to be sexually abused live on webcam in exchange for payment. 

Björn Sellström, director of the Swedish police's anti-child pornography unit, confirmed to Swedish Radio News that the suspected Swedes are thought to have ordered children to "perform" over the internet. "We have two people whom we are still working on," he said.

Sellström added that it was unfortunate that the news was made public in the UK as his unit was still gathering evidence and the suspects had not yet been notified by the police.  

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