CHILD EXPLOITATION More than 100 residents in Canada are facing charges over child exploitation, police announces Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2022).  Charges include child pornography, possession of and distributing child pornography, and accessing child pornography. (Anadolu)

TRENTON, Canada – More than 100 residents in Canada face charges related to child exploitation following an investigation called "Project Maverick," police reported Wednesday.

All 107 suspects reside in Ontario, and the investigation took place in October. At least 428 cases are being readied against the suspects.

Authorities said 121 children were identified, 60 being "safeguarded" and the rest referred to community organizations for assistance.

Police said they were appalled by the massive number of child exploitation cases.

“These numbers are shocking, but they provide hope by showing the lengths our teams are willing to go to protect children,” Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Chief Supt. Kari Dart said.

Dart said 22 police agencies, the provincial attorney general, and solicitor general departments were involved in Project Maverick.

They conducted 259 investigations, executed 168 search warrants, and seized 1,032 devices. Another 175 investigations are ongoing.

Charges include making child pornography available, possession of and distributing child pornography, and accessing child pornography, the OPP said in a video release.

The residents were from all over the province of Ontario and lived in a small town and large cities like Toronto and Hamilton, police said.

Police said, "Project Maverick" painted a picture of the work being done by investigators and analysts who are part of the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet.

"I would like to express gratitude for the hard work of the provincial strategy members and our partners in keeping children in this province safe and holding those who want to harm them accountable," Dart said. (Anadolu)