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'Trace an object' Gardai and Europol publish images of clothes and toys in bid to solve child abuse cold cases

The law enforcement agencies today released a new set of photos as part of Europol's Track An Object Initiative.

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Some of the items released by Europol as part of the Trace An Object initiative

Some of the items released by Europol as part of the Trace An Object initiative

Some of the items released by Europol as part of the Trace An Object initiative

Gardaí and Europol have appealed to the public for help identifying victims of child sexual abuse cold cases.

The law enforcement agencies today released a new set of photos as part of Europol's Track An Object Initiative.

They hope amateur online sleuths will recognise a detail in the images that will help narrow down the location of a victim.

The photographs include images of clothing worn by children who were abused by predators.

Europol have urged anyone with information on the images to not share any personal details - including recognisable pictures and names - on social media or anywhere online to protect victims.

Their appeal comes after experts combed through almost 600 sets of images and video files depicting unknown victims of child sexual abuse, some as young as a few days old, in the last month.

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Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

A total of 18 children were identified between 25th October and 5th November 2021 as part of the 10th edition of Europol’s Victim Identification Taskforce (VIDTF). Two offenders were arrested.

Nine of these young victims have already been rescued by relevant authorities, with investigations ongoing to safeguard the others.

Europol’s Executive Director Catherine de Bolle said: “Changing global circumstances in recent decades have changed the way child abusers commit their crimes and hide their tracks.

“Results such as these from the VIDTF show that law enforcement has kept up with these changes and built a formidable united front against this type of crime.

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“This is echoed by the public’s support through the Trace An Object initiative, and together we can hopefully rescue more children and infants from abuse and sexual exploitation.”

The VIDTF is a Europol initiative which gathered specialists from 26 countries and partner agencies – including Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada - to identify victims and offenders depicted in child sexual abuse material.

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Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Established in 2014, the VIDTF is the largest recurring operation of its kind in the world, and has inspired a number of similar initiatives at the national and regional levels.

The VIDTF has safeguarded 533 children and arrested 182 offenders over the past 10 operations.

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Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

Image released by Europol as part of 'Trace-an-Object' initiative

You can view the new Trace An Object images and help identify the victim of child sexual abuse here.

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