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New Objects Identified in Europol’s “Stop Child Abuse” Crowdsourcing Campaign — Third Update

January 4, 2018

By Christiaan Triebert

Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union, asks the public for help in countering child pornography. Despite all their detection methods, they sometimes encounter objects in child abuse footage of which they have no idea what or where it is. You may be able to help identify these objects and places.

Bellingcat started a crowdsourcing project that has successfully identified several objects for the “Stop Child Abuse – Trace An Object” campaign. Since the start of the campaign in mid-2017, Europol has repeatedly uploaded new objects onto their website that need to be identified.

This is our third update on the campaign, highlighting some of the findings. You can read our previous coverage here:

Want to help? You can join the digital search by joining the Bellingcat verification team on Check, a crowdsourcing platform. It is worth noting that Check-user ‘Bo’ has identified the largest share of the objects.

New Objects Identified

b2.jpg

This object (Check) has been identified by Bellingcat Investigation Team’s Timmi Allen as a CERASTAR boiler system produced by the Junkers Bosch Gruppe in Germany.

suit_pijamas.jpg

The “suit_pijamas.jpg” (Check) have been identified by Check-user “Bo” as a Cherokee pyjama, via a similar object that is being sold second-hand on eBay.

cow_pillow.jpg

The “cow pillow” (Check) has been identified by “Bo” as a pet bed, sold in the Russian Federation. There are also regular pillows with a similar pattern which are, for example, sold in the United Kingdom.

black_container.jpg

The black container (Check) has been identified as a black bag for the Rayman game. On a Rayman fan forum, the object was also discussed and one forum user has more details about the bag:
It came out in 2001 and used to be available mainly in France, and judging from the packaging, in Germany and the UK as well. Rayman fans all over the world bought it online, so it’s difficult to tell where this particular bag is from. It’s quite rare though, there’s a chance that whoever owns it (and uses it, because it doesn’t seem to be buried under a ton of other things or particularly hidden away) is a Rayman fan

poster.jpg.jpg_631.jpg

This poster (Check) has been identified as one which bears the red logo of КВН, a Soviet or post-Soviet humour contest. The posters that have been found are not identical, but very similar and may narrow down the search for Europol. Again, using Yandex reverse image search proved useful.

In Progress

There are still many unidentified objects, such as a bag, an object which appears to have the Nestle logo on it, a boiler, a paperbag, a bottle, a calendar (and another calendar), and a magazine from around 2002.  You can see which objects have not been identified by clicking on ‘In Progress’ on the project page at Check, and see what kind of hints have been found by other members of the Bellingcat verification team on Check. You need to register or log in to apply this function.

There is also an image that needs to be geolocated, showing a sheep next to a pathway in a grass field.

 

Christiaan Triebert

Christiaan Triebert has investigated for Bellingcat since 2015 and runs several of Bellingcat's workshops for journalists and researchers across the world. Contact via email (christiaantriebert@bellingcat.com) or Twitter (@trbrtc).

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11 Comments

  1. Neil

    The sheep is tethered to a stake in a nut tree orchard (walnut?). Someone is employed to move this sheep’s stake each day, so it may be private property. However, the road into the location is maintained, perhaps for public access to a private memorial. The dark red, painted stonework in the background looks like a memorial, much like a tombstone. The stair-shaped work is not a stair (the risers are not regular as stairs would be (perhaps the base of a former stele?). It looks like a battlefield memorial on private land.

    Reply
  2. Raj

    The white paint around the trees are like those you find in Military camps in Asia after the British left.

    Reply
  3. Volo >:-C

    How does this stupid “Check” thing work?!?
    I can’t communicate with other teams! I have no capability to be invited to the team!
    All I can do is to post a link or media and look at it. ALONE! Is it a masturbatory thing?
    What is the point in crowdsourcing without capability to communicate with said crowd?!?

    Reply
  4. Thomas Angermayr

    The white pole on the red stonework may be a flagpole.
    One of the white painted trees (mid-picture) is not a tree but a massive pole (e.g. for phone lines or electricity)
    right behind the supposed memorial is a place similar to a beach volleyball field,
    of plausible similar size and possibly covered with sand.
    This could be a small parade ground as well.
    Flat builings in background surround the estate,
    which looks very much like a (community) park to me.

    Reply
  5. guus

    Wouldn’t the ethnicity of poeple in this picture/movie be a big clue? Red soil, open building architecture in what looks like a compound setting, somewhat barren/dry patches of grass would indicate warm temperate, moist climate. Be it africa, india or central america. I’d say ethnicity would narrow that down a bunch.

    Reply
    • Volo

      No, it is not. Croatia is full of red soil… So is Crimea.

      It is Ex-USSR, I’d say Russia-Belarus-Ukraine (chestnut tree in painted socks clearly give it away). It is a park of some sort.
      Either in
      (a) urban sleeper neighborhoods,
      (b) kolkhoz,
      (c) military quarters or
      (d) a factory.

      I’d go for (a).

      Reply
  6. BrooksLeigh

    Couple things suggest Ukraine to me. Maybe people know bloggers or travelers there who could help identify the location precisely. 1) The sheep looks to me like an “Askanian” sheep – domestic Ukrainian common sheep (see Wikipedia). 2) Researching the tree (and pole) painting, it is a spring tradition passed down from the Soviet-era commonly practiced in the Ukraine (possibly an elsewhere see areweeurope.com). The painting typically takes place in late March or early April. The practice has been banned or is no longer practiced in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Latvia. 3) Did you notice how evenly spaced the trees are? Equidistant in rows. The Ukraine features “field wind breaks” put in by Stalin to prevent erosion and increase crop yields in the 1950s. They consist of deciduous trees planted 2 meters between trees, 3 meters between rows. Typically 4-5 rows. I don’t know if this would be a windbreak exactly, but the spacing appears roughly that. A few thoughts hoping to reinvigorate the dialogue about this photo. Is it still unsolved?

    Reply
  7. Hannu

    Very similar to for example War Memorial in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, in Google street view, but not it. Went through all war memorial pictures posted from the area to tracesofwar.com but found no match. Have a look, there are tons of similar color memorial for fallen Russian soldiers in those ex-soviet countries. I’d guess the picture is from some similar size place.

    Reply

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