French law enforcement authorities carried out a groundbreaking operation this week, detaining 80 men suspected of involvement in child sexual exploitation activities. Described as an “unprecedented” operation, it reveals the widespread prevalence of this issue across various social categories in the country, with the suspects ranging in age from thirty to over sixty and coming from diverse social and professional backgrounds.
The French police, in collaboration with the New Events Operations Bureau, coordinated the operation, which targeted individuals with regular contact with minors. Among those arrested were two teachers, sports coaches, and a supervisor at a facility for children with disabilities. According to Cantan Bevan, the head of the New Events Operations Bureau, one of the teachers was found to have “stolen photos and videos of his students with sexual connotations, imparting a sexual nature to these images.” The teacher is also accused of sexually assaulting at least one student. Additionally, around ten of the detainees are suspected of rape or sexual assault.
In numerous cases, the authorities discovered “over 100,000” videos and images related to child sexual exploitation during this extensive operation. These materials were found stored on computers, hard drives, and other digital media. Bevan emphasized that some of the content was “extremely violent,” stating, “We are facing the worst of the worst.”
The suspects in these cases range in age from thirty to over sixty, representing various social and professional backgrounds, including individuals in positions of authority, local elected officials, and unemployed individuals. According to the police commissioner, there are no typical profiles for those involved in these crimes, as they come from all social and professional categories.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin welcomed the operation through the X platform, praising the “major campaign against sexual crimes committed against children.” He added that investigations are still ongoing. At the end of the police custody period for charges of “detention, viewing, dissemination, and sharing of images of sexual assaults on children,” 51 men were referred to the judiciary. Thirteen were immediately imprisoned, while others were placed in pre-trial detention pending trial. Thirty-eight other men were placed under judicial supervision, and in some cases, provisional detention was lifted pending further verification of the content of confiscated digital media.