Operation Joint Hammer Busts Child Porn Rings Worldwide

About 170 people, including more than 60 Americans, have been arrested in the breakup of seven major child pornography rings worldwide, the FBI said Monday.

The U.S. law enforcement agency said Operation Joint Hammer, which started with a tip from Australian authorities in 2006, is already one of the largest child porn probes on record and it isn’t over yet, the agency said on its Web site.

The FBI said along with the arrests, authorities rescued 14 girls, some as young as 3, who had been sexually abused by pornographers.

The FBI said authorities in Queensland, Australia, came across a pornographic video online showing a young Dutch girl. That led to the arrest of an alleged molester in Belgium and a video producer from Italy.

A list of 50,000 e-mails from 28 countries, including 11,000 from the United States, was seized from the video producer and that led to the start of Operation Joint Hammer, the FBI said.

Dangerous sexual predators have been stopped, the FBI said, including a New Jersey man producing sexual images of his 9-year-old daughter, an Arizona elementary school teacher who was a customer of the Italian Web site and a convicted sex offender from Philadelphia.

We’re still working our way through all the cases, said the unnamed FBI agent in charge of the investigation.

Cooperation is the key.

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