Gov't agent impersonating a 14-year-old brings down 10 sexual offenders

The agent, impersonating an underage teenager, joined various apps where these sexual exchanges take place freely.

 (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Ten individuals have been arrested for suspected involvement in prostitution and sexual offenses involving a minor on the Internet, Israel Police revealed on Tuesday. The suspects were nabbed by an agent pretending to be a 14-year-old boy.
“Ten sexual offenders who thought they could remain anonymous on the Internet today discovered how untrue that is,” a police spokesperson said. “The Internet is a world that children inhabit, and they are not always aware of the dangers geared directly towards them.”
The investigation, headed by Lahav 433’s Unit 105, and overseen by Israel Police and the government prosecution’s cyber unit, has been going on for months, during which time various indictments have been issued against individuals suspected of paying minors for sexual services.
The police released a statement with the details of the operation, announcing that the alleged sex offenders will be brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The agent, impersonating an underage teenager, joined various apps where these sexual exchanges take place freely.
Throughout the duration of the operation, he was approached by scores of adult men who were all well aware that he was underage. The men wrote messages and sent photographs and videos of a pornographic nature of themselves, often asking for similar content in return from the “teen.”
A few of them were more invested in the online exchange than others, and proceeded to offer various sums of money, and even a complimentary stay at an overnight cabin, to meet with the “teen” for sexual exchanges, sometimes even suggesting their personal cars as the meeting spot.
Sexual offenders who target minors often use methods of camouflage, manipulation and technology that help them remain anonymous and protect their identity from discovery and legal action, averting reaching police’s hands, the police statement on the matter noted.
Just last month, a similar covert investigation led to the arrest of 23 suspects.
According to a November report published by the Israel National Council for the Child, the number of calls to Israel’s 105 hotline, which protects children online, rose by 63% in 2020, with 48% of them coming from children aged 14-16. One of the top three reasons for the calls was online sex offenses.
What these explicit requests gave the agent was legal proof that they intended to carry out these acts, often immediately or within a very short period of time, as they were asking for a physical meeting.
After two adult men met with the “teen,” three were finally arrested on Monday night. By Tuesday morning, the remaining seven were caught by police, all between the ages of 30-60.
“To all the criminals who hide behind keyboards – who think that the police won’t find you – we will use every means necessary to stop you,” the spokesperson assured.