The Croatian police officers for cyber security recently participated in an international operational action called “MOZAIK” with the goal of exposing cases of sexually abused children on the Internet. This also aimed to prevent further abuse of children, ensure the safety of potential victims, and expose and sanction sexual abusers of children. During the operation, which took place from November 6 to 19, 2023, the police in Croatia identified eight perpetrators of criminal offenses and conducted nine searches of the suspect’s homes. They confiscated more than 50 digital data storage devices used to commit criminal offenses and protected one Croatian child victim during the criminal investigation to prevent any further abuse.
The police have confirmed that the suspected Croatian citizens committed a total of seven criminal acts, and part of the criminal investigation is still ongoing. Operation MOZAIK 2023 was led by the Slovenian National Police and coordinated by Europol within the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform for Combating Criminal Offenses (EMPACT). Its aim was to identify and arrest people who use online forums and messaging applications to send and share material related to child sexual abuse.
During the operation, Western Balkan countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary, implemented a series of measures. Police conducted 41 raids in participating countries, mainly to investigate the sharing of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, four persons were arrested in connection with this case. More than 200 objects containing images or videos of child sexual abuse were confiscated, including computers, mobile phones, computer servers, and memory cards.
Europol assisted in the exchange of information between all involved countries and further strengthened the operational picture in the region by cross-checking seized data and providing intelligence for the purpose of continuing investigations in the region and beyond.