Editor's note: TRIGGER WARNING. The information contained in this article, though presented as cautiously as possible, is still incredibly intense and can cause triggering. Please proceed with extreme caution past the first two paragraphs.
The Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reports that two teenagers, both 17, have been arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography after they were found, as a course of the investigation by "Operation Delirio," to have paid Bitcoin in order to view live torture and abuse of children on the dark web.
Since it's inception in October of last year, Operation Delirio has resulted in the arrest of 25 individuals from 13 different provinces in Italy. Of those arrested, 19 have been under the age of 18. Delirio is not trying to shut down the dark web, but rather to end the accessing of those sites by Italians.
Investigators obtained communications from the 17-year-old boy to the 17-year-old girl in which he detailed information about "Red Rooms" he had found on the dark web, telling her, according to investigators, that they were locations "the most technologically equipped users are able to access for a fee to witness sexual violence and torture practiced 'directly from adults on minors, with the possibility of interacting for the spectators, who can request certain actions from the direct protagonists of the heinous actions."
Investigators explained further by saying that a smaller fee would be paid to watch previously recorded footage of abuse and torture of children with a higher fee being assessed for the live stream of such acts where viewers would even be able to make specific requests of the perpetrators. "Live requests have very significant costs and ensure very high earnings for foreign organizations that carry out such inhuman acts," the investigators said.
According to investigators, the videos nearly always resulted in the death of a child. They believe the site is based somewhere in South East Asia, but did not get into further specifics.
In the communications obtained by investigators, the boy seemingly bragged about having seen footage of "executions, murders, dismemberments, sexual acts committed against animals, organ extrapolations, castrations, creepy images and child pornography against very young children," potentially as young as two-years-old.
During the execution of the search warrant July 15th, when the teens were arrested, investigators seized cell phones, personal computers, tablets, USB sticks and external hard drives.
According to BPR, “images reportedly shared between the two, seized by law enforcement, include pornographic videos self-made by children; videos adults made of minors sexually assaulting children aged between 2 and 4; and gory videos involving Nazi symbology.”