French police arrest 310 suspected paedophiles

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PARIS, Oct 12 (Reuters) French police have arrested 310 people suspected of having downloaded images of child pornography on the Internet, police said today.

Police said 144 of those detained across France since Monday had admitted they had downloaded pornographic videos of young girls. Some also confessed that they had raped or sexually assaulted children. Around 20 people had been cleared.

''There's no specific profile,'' a police spokesman said, adding that the arrests had been conducted upon a tip-off from an Italian association for the protection of victims.

''It's men from all social backgrounds -- educators, as well as teachers, IT workers, company heads, soldiers or workers. You find them everywhere and in all backgrounds,'' he said.

Police found 2,100,000 photos and 28,000 pornographic videos during their searches at the suspects' homes.

The Italian association discovered pornographic pictures of young girls on the Internet earlier this year and an inquiry showed the site was hosted in France, police said. The document was downloaded 10,000 times across the world.

REUTERS PD HT1730

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