American authorities have arrested and charged the website’s administrator Jonathan Johnson, 27, and 13 other people after children, mainly young boys, were exploited online, AFP reports.
More than 250 children, who live in six countries, were victims of the ring – which AFP reports shared 2000 webcam-captured videos of juvenile boys enticed by the website’s operators to produce sexually explicit material.
Two New Zealand boys, aged 12 and 13, were identified by New Zealand police’s Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand group.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael said steps have been taken to ensure the safety of those children.
“This investigation highlights the fact that the internet allows predators to exploit children around the world, even in the safety of their own homes,” Sen Sgt Michael said.
The secret members-only website, with over 27,000 subscribers, was uncovered in what US authorities are calling one of the largest operations ever.
Child victims were also identified in Australia, the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Belgium.
The illicit website operated on a hidden service board on the Tor network from about June 2012 until June 2013, AFP reports.
Sen Sgt Michael says the operation, dubbed Operation Roundtable, is an example of international law enforcement agencies working together the stop online child exploitation.