More than 100 alleged child sex offenders, including teachers and caretakers, were arrested in child pornography raids across 19 countries, European police agency Europol said on Thursday.
The raids were the culmination of a two-year international effort to target child sex offenders on the Internet, Reuters reported. Europol identified 221 suspects and made 115 arrests.
The operation identified five children in different countries, between the ages of 4 and 12, who were victims of a sexual crime.
"Child sexual abuse is one of the most horrific crimes so I am extremely pleased in having these offenders identified and arrested," Reuters quoted Europol director Rob Wainwright from a statement. "But most of all I am glad to see that vulnerable children have been identified and saved from further harm."
Some of those arrested had close contact with children in their professional lives, working as teachers or caretakers.
Austrian authorities led the probe after finding an Internet service provider being used as a distribution channel for child porn. Raids took place in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, Reuters reported.