Paedophiles groom Italian kids on WhatsApp

A national network of paedophiles has been using online chat services including WhatsApp and Skype to groom children, Italian police said on Wednesday.

Paedophiles groom Italian kids on WhatsApp
WhatsApp photo: Shutterstock

Paedophiles have been befriending children on Netlog, a youth chat website, before convincing them to hand over their personal contact details.

The adults then developed the relationships through their WhatsApp and Skype accounts, convincing the children to send erotic videos and photos of themselves, police said.

The paedophile ring was uncovered by police in Udine, north-east Italy, after parents of a 12-year-old girl discovered she had been groomed online.

After a year-long investigation, police said on Wednesday they had identified a number of people thought to be involved. Their ages range from 29 to over 75 and include students, professionals and pensioners.

In a series of raids across the country police seized computer equipment, over 500 CDs and DVDs and 50 mobile phones and sim cards.

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