The Dark Web: A haven for pedophiles beyond the Internet

Users of the Dark Web hide behind a normal-looking facade to conduct heinous activities

Binary data. (Public domain, via

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2015 – It was November of 2014 in the quiet suburban neighborhood as the light of an early Saturday morning began to peek through the clouds and the day found its beginning. The quaint three-bedroom home on the corner blended in with the rest of the neighborhood, as the freshly painted beige exterior glistened in the early morning sun. The neatly trimmed yard was littered with the toys of young children, and a brown mini van missing a hubcap was parked in the driveway.

Suddenly the screech of tires broke the landscape of silence as three black Chevy Suburbans with blacked windows came to an abrupt halt in front of the house. A group of men wearing black body armor and matching helmets formed a line behind two others holding a large black battering ram as they the disengaged the safety of their automatic weapons. As the group advanced on the front door, a loud crash echoed as the force of the battering ram met the front door and splinters of wood rained down on the group.

Inside the house a middle-aged man sat at a computer in the darkness as images of young children flashed across the screen and the video streamed across the secret network that made him invisible to the rest of the world. Seconds later, he was lying on the floor handcuffed, and law enforcement agents carefully began to collect the evidence they needed to bring down a global ring of pedophiles.

The investigation had taken over a year and had led agents into the darkest depths of a world few know about, a world where terrorists, drug dealers and pedophiles roam freely. Known as “the Dark Web,” it is a series on non-indexed sites around the world that create an abyss 500 times larger than the Internet you and I surf every day.

Tor is free software that allows a user to browse, send e-mail and chat anonymously. It also allows users access to the “Dark Web.” A 2014 study by University of Portsmouth computer science researcher Gareth Owen discovered a startling 80 percent of the traffic to sites on the Dark Web were associated with child pornography.

In an interview with CBS News, Greg Virgin, who formerly worked with the National Security Agency and is now a cyber security consultant to children’s rights groups commented, “It was just an awful realization, discovering there were tens of thousands of people who are not only trading child pornography, but planning to exploit children.”

On the Dark Web, pedophile “shopping” sites advertise children for sale as well as take “orders” for specific age groups. Virgin said, “We found one site where users openly advertised the ages of the children they were interested in. The average youngest age they were seeking for girls was zero years old. And the average age for boys was one.”

A 2014 Business Insider article by James Cook that documents a pedophile fundraising site for child exploitation videos further emphasizes the growth of child exploitation on the Dark Web. Pedophiles created a twisted form of the popular fundraising tool “Kickstarter,” which collected funds to exploit children and then share the videos on the Dark Web for free.

The FBI is rumored to have taken down several of the servers used by pedophiles on the Dark Web in 2013. But, according to Virgin, “”The demand is picked up very quickly by other sites, and the sites are replaced very quickly, usually by a stronger, better site.”

The Dark Web is a Rubik’s cube of depravity. For those who know how to unlock its many hidden doors, there is no limit to the horrific nightmares children are forced to live. Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome scan roughly 5 percent of the space that is reached by Tor, which plunges deeply into the hidden world. Internet privacy enthusiasts attempt to deflect criticism of the use of Tor and the presence of child exploitation on the Dark Web by saying the numbers are inflated.

A computer hacker who spoke under the condition of anonymity noted, “There are doors within the Dark Web hidden so well that only a handful of experts could find them, and even then it would take some time to uncover the warren of passageways deep beneath the surface.”

Tor began with a much nobler purpose that still finds its place in the expanding landscape of illicit users on the Dark Web. It was envisioned as a way to allow journalists and those living under oppressive governments a means of communication that would protect their identities and their lives.

Created by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Tor began in the 1990s as a way for the U.S. Intelligence Community to communicate securely. In 1997, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) further developed Tor and in 2004, the Naval Research Laboratory released the code for Tor under a free license. In 2006 a non-profit called “The Tor Project” was created by a group of computer scientists in Massachusetts that maintains Tor in association with several other organizations.

Law enforcement has been fighting back against those who exploit Tor for darker purposes. In 2013, Irish authorities arrested 28-year-old Eric Eoin Marques, who is thought responsible for Freedom Hosting, an anonymous hosting company rife with child exploitation.

After Marques’ arrest, a panic rushed through the pedophile community, when the U.S. National Security Agency released a virus onto the Freedom Hosting website to track and uncover the pedophiles lurking on the Dark Web. Numerous child exploitation forums were deleted in response to law enforcement’s infiltration of their twisted domain, and warnings temporarily drove pedophiles further underground.

The Dark Web interests law enforcement not only because of its large community of pedophiles but also because organized crime, terrorists, money laundering and the illegal drug trade have proliferated in its dark abyss.

For example, the infamous “Silk Road” site provided a marketplace of illicit drugs for sale on the Dark Web. Run by an administrator known only as the “Dread Pirate Roberts” (named after the character in the William Goldman novel and later movie “The Princess Bride”), the site drew the public ire of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. The FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht after an elaborate sting operation caught him logged on to the Silk Road site as the Dread Pirate Roberts himself.

The Dark Web has become an arena where the cat and mouse game between authorities and those who exploit a child’s innocence continues. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that as of January 2015, its CyberTipline received more than 3.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998. Memex, a powerful new search engine developed by DARPA has given U.S. law enforcement the ability to root out the elusive miscreants who trade in the most depraved corners of the Dark Web.

We face a desperate struggle as child exploitation continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Law enforcement needs everyone to learn how those who exploit our children operate. It is only when we have all joined together in the fight to save our children that we will finally eradicate these parasites of the innocent.

As a survivor of child sex trafficking, childhood sexual abuse and childhood sexual exploitation, I understand the continuous cycle of abuse each victim suffers. As a child I was abandoned by irresponsible and abusive parents, left to fend for myself, stripped of the tools that every child needs to function in the world and saved from a darker ending only by the unconditional love of my great-aunt.

I have struggled my entire life with the effects of my early loss of innocence. Overcoming it has been my greatest triumph, but it only became possible through the love and caring of those who held human compassion in the highest regard and dedicated themselves to the rescue of those standing at the edge of the abyss.

My sincerest hope is that I can save one child from suffering the hell I endured. Then I can leave this life with a sense of accomplishment. I hope you will all join me in the fight to protect our children from sexual predators before the next child is stripped of innocence.

To learn more about how you can help stop those who exploit a child’s innocence and report suspected child sexual exploitation, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website or call the CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678. Working together we can save the next child from a lifetime of ravaged innocence and stolen hopes and dreams.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

Previous articleBoxing results: Cotto pounds Geale, heads for Canelo Alvarez matchup
Next articlePotlines app helps marijuana users stay on the right path
Jerome Elam
Jerome Elam is a survivor of child sex trafficking, child abuse, and child pornography. He is also the child of an alcoholic and a child survivor of domestic violence as well as a child of divorce. Raised in the south, Jerome enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of seventeen to escape the nightmare he had become trapped in. That day, Jerome’s life found a new beginning as he embarked upon a journey that would show him the world and open his eyes to the strength of the human spirit. After his enlistment was finished, Jerome attended college and graduated to work in the Biotechnology sector. Motivated by the painful memory of his past, Jerome began to speak out about his abuse and found the healing force of God’s unconditional love and the joy of starting his own family. He is a fierce advocate for all children deprived of their voices, a speaker, a Staff Writer and Columnist for Communities Digital News and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. When asked to describe his life Jerome says,” I have struggled against many things in my life and somehow I found a way to survive. Writing is my passion and it keeps me in touch with the wealth everyone holds deep inside their hearts and minds. I share my experiences in the hope that those suffering in silence will find the courage to speak out and share their voices. I have been blessed to have God reveal his purpose for me in saving innocent children from predators.”
  • I highly doubt that it’s 80%. A lot of sick perverts, yes. But it’s a bit more balanced of a ratio than that, compared to non-paedo sites.

  • The Public needs to understand the gravity and the depths that Pedophiles will sink to only to perpetuate their compulsions. Nambla Knew it could not garner public support due to its reputation. They deviously went on to recruit “families of sex offenders” the wives, mothers, sisters etc. of convicted offenders to “ban together” as a United front to allow them a voice to push for anonymity among society. These “groups” want registry abolishment at all cost and lighter repercussions for sex crimes. One of the most vocal is “WAR” Vicki Henry’s “women against Registry” RSOL (anystate) “reform sex offender laws” “Sosen”(Sex Offender Solutions & Education Network) “ARM” (abolish registry movement” and many many more.
    Make no mistake these groups have their roots derived from Nambla’s core agenda. The call for harsher repercussions, longer sentences and a no tolerance stance should be LOUDER than ever in a healthy society.

    • Valerie “Valigator” Parkhurst is spinning lies again. The only thing she knows to do is the tired routine of proclaiming registry reform groups are all fronts for “NAMBLA.” The groups she mentioned have no affiliation with NAMBLA and have condemned them. Valerie Parkhurst has multiple arrests for gun and assault crimes (easily verified through the Broward Co. FL clerk of courts website), so she projects her self-loathing onto various groups so she can feel self-important.

      Valigator represents the WORST the internet has to offer.

      • yea a real Al Capone Derek, but thanks for spreading the “head’s up” to all those who think they can “make their bones” threatening me. Saves me the trouble.

        • So was that 1996 arrest from when you pulled a gun on a kid playing ball in your neighborhood?

          • Oh now that is “rich really “rich” the “legendary” Derek Logue who by his own definition is the “go to” pedophile for attorneys, judges, doctors for research is asking me what the 96 arrest was for?? Now that does make me smile.. So let me get this straight? You leave droppings all over the internet “inferring” what a criminal I am, but admit TODAY You the genius child molester don’t KNOW? That amuses me.. Why don’t you ask one of those “eager hungry Legal eagles , that you proclaim YOU are joined at the hip with your worthless backside?? Rich really rich”

          • It was a rhetorical question, Val. Obviously it is public record, but i’m merely asking you to admit your crimes the way your imaginary friend keeps begging for something that can be easily obtained yourself. As usual, you are drunk posting and rambling incoherently, just like you did on Amazon the other day. It was funny watching you get humiliated after being caught in yet ANOTHER lie. You’ve been caught in so many lies I lost count years ago. Once again you’ve proven to be the dumbest old drunk on the internet.

          • Your boring me, but we can look at the bright side that re-enforces my argument, pedos will spend days on the internet with fake facebook and social media profiles all in an effort to propagate agenda’s, take shots at Anti’s, get next to victim’s or perpetrate how “harmless” they are, Derek obviously needs some help with the latter concept..

          • Valerie Parkhurst, career criminal residing in Ft Lauderdale, you need help for both your alcoholism and your compulsive lying. At the least, you should get a spell-checker as well as a fact-checker.

            Protip: Not every word ending in S needs an apostrophe.

            ProTip #2: Obviously you fail to grasp the concept that a business can be represented on FB and that multiple people can play administrator on a page, as opposed to a personal profile. I don’t have a personal FB profile. The Once Fallen FB page is a business page and, unlike my site, is run by other people under my direction. You know, constantly correcting your millions of mistakes is a full-time job these days.

          • Dear Senators Benefield, Smitherman, and Denton,

            I am writing to you today in opposition to your proposed Senate Bill 48, the proposed law to ban sex offenders from “social websites.”

            I am a former sex offender residing in Sheffield, Alabama, and a nationally-known civil rights advocate for the rights of individuals who have completed their sentences. “My” primary web address is http://www.oncefallen .com, but I use certain sites like Twitter and Google Blogspot to showcase my authorship and writings. In addition, I am involved in a national movement to reform well-intentioned but ill-conceived laws, which also utilize forums and sites that could be considered “social networking sites” under your proposed bill.
            Derek Logue
            (What do I always say numbnut? Sexual offenders/Predators are the dumbest rocks in the box)..

          • You’ve merely proven your stupidity once again. We were discussing Facebook, not Twitter nor Google Blogspot, neither of which have policies against registered citizens, BTW.

            SB 48 was a bill that cast too wide of a net, where even local news sites would have been considered “social networks” even though no real person would have thought of it as such. The bill did not pass as it was originally written, thankfully, thanks in part to my efforts. Thanks for reminding me of another victory for Once Fallen 🙂

            You might want to shake the rocks out of your skull before trying to challenge me in an intellectual manner.

          • How “intellectual” is it to be released from prison and have an entire State (ohio) decide you are actually more dangerous than originally thought so they uptick your status to a Level three?? Yea you are a real genius Derek..

          • The government gets lots of things wrong. My case is one example.

            Not locking YOU up for two aggravated assaults was the other mistake. Val, you are a different kind of predator, and YOU are the only one between us that is a danger to society.

          • No Derek I am an extreme danger to you and any other perv who thinks they will “make their bones” on me. remember that.

          • Val, you are nothing. You made those same warnings so often in the past, they are meaningless. You warned me never to come to Florida and get in the face of your scumbag “heroes” and I did just that. You, a threat? You’re more a gnat that gets swatted. YOU are not even small potatoes, you’re NO potatoes. At best, you are someone I debunk for sport 🙂