On Monday morning a campaign was launched to find a four-year-old girl who was the victim of child abuse. The campaign was ordered by the court of Giessen at the request of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, or 'Bundeskriminalamt' (BKA), and the Frankfurt district attorney's office.
The police discovered the pornographic recordings online in June 2017 but, due to the anonymous nature of the dark web, efforts to identify either the child or her abuser were not initially successful.
Photos of the victim's face were released with a plea for anyone who recognised her to get in contact with the police. The photos were taken from pornographic videos which her abuser had filmed and then uploaded to the dark web.
According to the BKA press release, they received many tip-offs from the population, one of which lead to the identification of both the suspect and the victim, just hours after the pictures were released.
A 24-year-old man from Lower Saxony was then taken into custody on Monday evening. The suspect was reportedly known to the victim's family.
The accused is believed to have sexually abused the child several times between October 2016 and July 2017 and uploaded videos of the abuse, reported DPA.
"The girl was examined by a police psychologist and now is once again in the care of her parents", Georg Ungefuk, senior prosecutor in Frankfurt am Main, told Bild.
The highly unusual decision to release pictures of the girl's face was a last resort for the police, who feared that the child was still at risk of abuse.
It was "the last measure to identify the perpetrator. We only resort to it if all other possibilities have not led to the goal,” said Ungefuk.
As the child's safety has now been ensured, the BKA requested in a Facebook post that all pictures of the four-year-old be pulled from news sites to protect the girl's privacy.