Dozens of people were arrested this week for alleged child sex offences across Quebec during a mass mobilization of police officers in several jurisdictions.
Officers conducted several residential searches and seized computer equipment. In total, 31 people were arrested between the ages 37-79, police say.
Charges against the arrested people include sexual assault, child porn distribution, and luring, among several others. Their cases are now before the courts.
Police say the investigations began in the fall of 2022 in several cities, including Montreal, Quebec City, Longueuil, Laval and Gatineau. Provincial police were also involved.
In total, 275 officers participated in the operation, which resulted in arrests between Jan. 23 to 26.
ONLINE EXPLOITATION RISING: STATISTICS
Statistics on child exploitation released in May, 2022, suggest the rate of online incidents is rising in Canada.
When cybercrime data was first recorded back in 2014, authorities logged 50 incidents per 100,000 people.
Six years later, that proportion had nearly tripled to a rate of 131 per 100,000 in 2020.
Luring made for a significant majority (77 per cent) of overall cases. Seven in 10 victims were girls aged 12-17.
Two out of three victims of online child sexual offences were victimized by a stranger. One in four was victimized by a friend, family member, or intimate partner.