ROME, SEPT. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A hundred online pedophile communities will be disconnected and prosecuted by U.S. and Italian authorities thanks to the work of the Meter Association, founded by Italian Father Fortunato Di Noto.
ZENIT learned from the association that the networks consisted of some 18,181 people who used online community Web sites to host and exchange "thousands of images and video footage -- 27,894 pedophiliac photos and 1,617 videos -- as well as information regarding the trade of minors."
The news was further publicized by Rome's Italian police force, in cooperation with other security forces.
"Thousands of children were involved," the association added.
Father Di Noto, a native of Sicily, explained that with the aid of a team of volunteers, Meter discovered "a universe that is not virtual, but real, in which people can register and exchange pornographic material of minors -- photos, videos, even dates with minors -- through one of the most well known social networks in the United States."
The association stated that "investigators both in Italy and in the United States termed the uncovered material an 'authentic horror,' with newborns and children of a very young age as the objects of violence and sexual abuse."
Meter, which is a pioneering association in the struggle against pedophilia, worked for six months in order to deliver the current evidence to the Italian police department that deals with Internet crimes. The charges were subsequently communicated to the North American authorities.
Father Di Noto, a pastor in the town of Avola, stated: "It is impossible to describe the horrors we have seen, uncovered and denounced in six months. Constant vigilance has brought unexpected results, and today we have more hope than ever that online pederasty and pedophilia, crimes against children and against humanity, can and shall be defeated."
The priest added: "There is not a nation which has not been involved. Tens of thousands of people produce, exchange and possess material, and violate children."
"This is not 'virtual' material," he asserted, "but real, so real that when you hear in the videos the children's screams of pain, when you see in the photos the faces of the newborns, you can hear the drama, the pain, the suffering."
The association stated that online social networking sites have provoked a change in the pedophiles' strategies.
Father Di Noto explained, "The social network is a double-edged sword in matters of pedophilia: On the one hand, it permits communication between pedophiles and in a certain sense, increases their possibilities; on the other hand, it is the most efficient instrument for security forces to find and disconnect their Web sites."
The priest reported that over the past five years, his association has secured 1,064 charges and reported almost 6,000 sites to the authorities.
For this reason, the founder of Meter launched an appeal, to journalists in particular, to keep public awareness us and to "not to let down the guard against this crime."
In reporting about this type of thing, he said the authorities as well as the legislators will be motivated to give an adequate response to the terrible suffering of these children.
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On the Net:
Meter Association: http://www.associazionemeter.org/