Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 18:42 UK

Germany breaks up child porn ring

German Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen (C) poses with youths holding a poster reading "Stop child pornography" (25 March 2009)
Germany has enacted legislation to clamp down on child pornography

Police in Germany have said they have broken up a child pornography network suspected of involving around 9,000 people in more than 90 countries.

Officers in the Baden-Wuerttemberg said obscene images were being sent over the internet to countries in Europe, as well as the US, Canada and New Zealand.

The footage included "images of the most serious sexual abuse", they added.

In raids across Germany, 500 computers and 43,000 storage devices were seized, and a number of people were arrested.

Though most suspects were released while evidence is examined, one man in his 40s was arrested in Lower Saxony on suspicion of sexually abusing two children in his family, police said.

Investigators said they had used special software that allowed 24-hour monitoring of computer activity.

On Friday, German police are set to sign agreements with internet service providers (ISPs) to make it harder to access websites posting child pornography, according to the AFP news agency.

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