In the first operation of its kind, information shared between the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre (IDCC), Hong Kong Police Force, Singapore Police Force and the Philippines National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group led to the identification of between 190 and 195 individuals working for organized crime groups operating out of the Philippines.

Close cooperation with Police Scotland, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Philippines Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime and the UK's National Crime Agency CEOP Command, resulted in the identification of sextortion victims in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The impact on his family, friends and wider community cannot be imagined.

It recognizes no national boundaries and can affect every one of us.

The international cooperation displayed by the different law enforcement agencies across the world in this investigation should send a message to those who commit cybercrime – there is nowhere to hide.” Material seized during Operation Strikeback will be analyzed by specialist officers from the involved countries in order to identify any additional victims and for follow-up investigations.

Through social networks, they assume the identity of a child to befriend and gain the trust of victims, who are then encouraged to share naked images depicting sexual activity.

The blackmailer then threatens to share these images in order to coerce the child to make additional, and usually more explicit images.

“It was the first time we heard of parents using their children,” said the middle-aged woman.

Authorities considered that operation in 2011 to be a one-off case.

She became close to the eldest, referred to as Nicole although that is not her real name.

After a few days of chatting, Nicole causally told the agent about their “shows”.

The offenders can be located anywhere in the world and pay the criminal gangs which are controlling access to the children.

The foreign offender can direct the sexual abuse, either towards a child or between children and pay for it to be streamed live.

“It is also a clear indicator that when the IGCI officially opens its doors later this year, this increased opportunity for information-sharing will lead to further successes and help close the net on cybercriminals around the world,” concluded Mr Nakatani.