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Police nab Net pedophiles

More than 60 suspected pedophiles, most living in Scandinavia, are arrested by U.S. police who lured them by posing as children on the Internet.

More than 60 suspected pedophiles, most living in Scandinavia, have been arrested by U.S. police who lured them by posing as children on the Internet.

New Hampshire police set up a special unit to crack down on pedophiles using the Web to find victims, according to detective James McLaughlin, who was quoted in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet yesterday.

Children increasingly are using the Net, with public schools and libraries becoming wired and the lowering costs of PCs making computers more accessible to the masses. But a downside of having large numbers of children on the Net is that the medium becomes more attractive to sexual predators.

Organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and government agencies such as the FBI have stepped up efforts to warn parents about the dangers of online use.

The New Hampshire police, posing as children, set up meetings with the suspects on the Net. Over the weekend, a 47-year-old British man living in Norway was nabbed by police when he arrived for a meeting in New Hampshire with an officer who had posed as 14-year-old "Billy" on the Net, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The suspect, whose name was withheld from the newspaper account in accordance with Swedish law, was charged with attempting to have sex with a minor. The newspaper said he is expected to be tried in a U.S. court.