Almost 200 paedophiles were arrested in just one week for grooming children on live-streaming apps.
Suspects included teachers, care workers, medical staff, police officers, military personnel and civil servants.
Detectives said the swoop had saved 245 children from abuse and exploitation. Some were primary school age. The officers fear that sex offenders are locked in a ‘feeding frenzy’, taking full advantage of new streaming technology.
Posing as children, they trick their young targets into exposing themselves or performing sex acts that are broadcast online. Some record the footage and use it to bully and blackmail victims into more depraved acts.
The paedophiles often offer cash rewards in return for compliance. Chief Constable Simon Bailey, UK’s most senior officer charged with tackling child abuse, said officers were trying everything to keep youngsters safe.
But he added: ‘We also need help. We need internet companies to help us stop access to sexual abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms. We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online.’
Young people in their millions are broadcasting footage of themselves online through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or apps such as Live.me.