After an investigation lasting several months, police made the raids Wednesday morning, apprehending eight people on suspicion of possessing kiddie porn material.
Three of the suspects are also accused of multiple cases of child sex abuse, according to the authorities.
The police started the investigation after they picked up a 47-year-old man in Münster in November who was in the possession of a million items of child pornography. Examination of this seized material led police to conduct the nationwide raids on Wednesday.
One of the suspects is a child model agent who had distributed pictures of naked children that were apparently taken secretly, they said. Through their investigation, police came across three more suspects in the United States and informed police there.
The announcement came as German Family Minister Kristina Schröder said the government planned a new approach to combating child pornography on the internet, admitting her predecessor Ursula von der Leyen’s approach had not worked.
The much-derided law allowing authorities to block sites – which von der Leyen pushed and the government passed but now does not want to use – could also be used to delete child pornography, she said.
In a tacit criticism of her predecessor, she said: “Certainly it would have been better to involve the internet community more. I have realised that myself.”