In January, Eurois Shiva (not his real name) launched Team Eunomie to unmask pedophiles who act on websites, whether in France and Belgium.
There are now 37 “trained” investigators, hidden behind false profiles on social networks in order to flush out predators and “protect children”.
“I am very involved.
I joined the team in February because I myself am a former victim.
And something must be done!
»Explains Goupil, who came from the Charleroi region in Belgium to help the leader.
“In a few months, we have made no less than 480 cases in France alone.
They are people classified as level 1, the most dangerous, at level 3
(Editor's note: internal organization scale)
They harassed, sent indecent proposals as well as pornographic photos and videos to children.
The offense of bribery of a minor is characterized each time.
They are repetitive pedophiles, ”explains Shiva.
Dozens of cases reported to public prosecutors
These are mostly isolated cases, but the hunters have also come across structured networks "where members find on the Darknet the
, which explains how to catch a girl, how to survive in prison, the excuses to give to parents , etc.
"For these reasons, Shiva urges parents to pay attention to their children's exchanges on the Internet:" During confinement, there was an upsurge in discussions on false profiles.
Pedophiles were also behind their screens!
As facts, documents and identities accumulated, Team Eunomie set up a standard document.
“I centralize everything and take care of the checks with my wife,” explains Shiva.
Then I will drop them off at the National Gendarmerie or the National Police.
But often they don't take our reports, which is illegal!
So we decided to take it to the next level, because we don't want all of this work to go by the wayside and leave these criminals unpunished.
Thus, several dozen USB keys with all the data have been sent in registered letters in recent weeks to 13 prosecutors in France.
“This corresponds to level 1 pedophiles. There are 7 in Seine-Maritime and Eure, 2 in Belgium and many in the Nord department.
Now we want to be taken seriously.
The subject is serious and we must take care of the victims, protect the other children.
Moreover, we receive many thanks from families.
Some join us.
Others give up because you have to have a strong heart to support what you see.
It's an enormous emotional charge, ”says the hunter, who ensures that he is protected from all threats or reprisals.
The National Gendarmerie alerts on these practices
Asked, Soizic Guillaume, the Deputy Prosecutor of Rouen did not wish to speak, "not yet having the files in his possession".
On the other hand, the Center de Lutte Contre les Crimes Numériques (C3N) of the National Gendarmerie wants to recall "that cyber infiltration was born in 2007. The legislator allowed investigators to benefit from special techniques to confuse pedophiles before they pass. to act and therefore to protect children.
In terms of French law, this is based on the admissibility of the evidence that must be gathered legally.
For this, there are three things to do in cyber infiltration: be trained, be authorized, be in a specialized service by an order.
Currently, we are about 250 investigators.
With the increase in our training, it is reasonable to think that we could reach the 600 investigators in the long term only for the National Gendarmerie.
These figures must be associated with the National Police, ”explains an adjutant in charge of communication.
Cybercrime: the actions of pedophile hunters "are counterproductive"
Regarding these groups of independent investigators, the military raises several pitfalls that prevent them from relying on their files: “We are happy that the topic interests the population.
It is not that we do not want their help, but their way of doing things, even if it is full of good intentions, is counterproductive in the exercise of the judicial police.
An investigation takes time to produce a solid case, on which the judge will rely to pronounce an appropriate sanction.
Collecting identities on social media is just the start of an investigation.
This is called our referral.
It launches a procedure to which must be added the realization of a complete environment on the target - to check if he meets minors, if there have already been victims of this person -, the organization of searches and the operation of digital equipment, police custody and instruction.
The time spent on cyber infiltration is minimal and if the beginning is ever shaky, if it turns out to be disloyal, the entire procedure will be broken or used by the Defense of the accused.
So we expose ourselves to working for nothing and this can alert suspected pedophiles.
Then our job is to prioritize the targets.
We will first ask ourselves if there are minors in danger… ”
Are pedophile hunters in danger?
The National Gendarmerie also wishes to warn against the risks incurred by members of these groups.
“To carry out cyber infiltration, you need to be a member of a research unit with experience in judicial police and a high level in new technologies.
In addition, according to regulation 230-46 of the Penal Code, the gendarme is authorized to commit certain offenses including that of acquiring or storing child pornography images.
This is not the case for ordinary citizens who are therefore liable to legal proceedings from the prosecution.
This is an important point!
Afterwards, they don't have our technical means.
Behind these false profiles, they practice reprehensible identity theft, they can endanger people or themselves, because certain targets are trained and can be violent, ”adds the non-commissioned officer.
The C3N also admits to worrying about these hunters, in particular for their mental health.
“We are confronted daily with violent images.
For this we have visits to the psychologist several times a year.
This is not their case and should not be taken lightly.
No feedback on reports
In addition, the dangerousness of the profiles involved raises fears of a counter-attack.
“They say they train a lot of people.
Team Moore announces a thousand.
How do they manage not to be sure of being infiltrated, to have their brain turned around by these experts in manipulating people?
We are convinced that this is already the case, explains the adjutant of the C3N.
The Americans have tried to work with these networks and have backed down.
In the end, it would bequeath a sovereign function to civilians.
We would arrive at the creation of private militias.
We cannot take justice ourselves, because that would no longer be justice.
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To conclude, the soldier advises those who want to help young victims and their families "either to join the National Gendarmerie, because it is recruiting."
Either join a victim support unit or an association that follows potential pedophiles so that they do not take action ”.
As for the hunt led by Team Eunomie in recent weeks, Shiva indicates: “In total, we have sent 71 files throughout France.
We had no feedback, except from the Montpellier prosecutor's office who had me summoned in October by the Gendarmerie near my home.
They want to hear from me on how to put the pieces together.
After that, because it never stops, we will be leaving 20 more profiles in the coming month.