The mid-2006 article by Correio da Manhã had this to say about paedophilia in Spain.
“It is recalled that, in early July , the Spanish authorities have arrested 42 people suspected of being part of a child pornography distribution network over the internet. According to the Civil Guard of Navarre, Portugal was one of the recipient countries of photographs of minors realised in Spain.
The denunciation from a 17 year old girl was behind the operation, which began after the detection of 27 photographic archives managed by a group of users in Spain and Andorra, which was part of an international network.”
The police operation in this case was Operation Voyeur, and a further explanation gives the following.
“The international paedophile network on the Internet was dismantled by Spanish police. The operation began with a complaint from a young woman who alerted police to the circulation of photographs of her on the Internet. The network included doctors, companies and IT directors.
In total, the Spanish police arrested 42 people and another 120 are under suspicion of “corruption of minors and possession of child pornography,” says “El Mundo”.
The operation, called “Voyeur”, lasted in Spain seven months and began in Navarre, north of the country after a 17 year old girl alert police to the fact that they are circulating on the Internet several photographs that showed naked with 13 years.
According to the Navarre authorities ‘ the investigation will remain open, “since the girl’s images continue to circulate in Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, United States, Panama , Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Thailand.
The network, which according to the authorities acted mainly in Spain and Andorra, was engaged mainly distribute, publish and share photos, and the subpoenas elapsed in 21 Spanish provinces.
The Spanish authorities coordinated the end of February an operation in the area of paedophilia on the Internet, and then summoned 108 people from 19 countries of Europe and Latin America.”
Although a 13 year old girl is quite different from a 4 year old Madeleine McCann, this gives an indication of the scope of the issue. However these people got into the information loop about this material is not covered, but there must have been some entry method for the material to be circulated across 17 countries.
The following is a case in 2016 in Galicia, the area of Spain just to the north of Portugal. My quick search for events in 2006 turned it up because the activities of the guilty party dated back at least to that time.
“The Provincial Court of Coruña has sentenced to six years and six months in prison a 61-year-old man accused of distributing child pornography from his home and produce this kind of material using the three minor children of a niece.
“Specifically, he received one year and six months for a crime of distributing child pornography in competition with [concurrent with] an offence of possession of this material, and five years for a crime of using children under 13 years for the production of pornographic material.
He will also be subjected to four years of probation and may not approach within 300 meters of the victims of the case or communicate with them for 10 years. Each will also receive a compensation of 6,666 euros.
The judgement considers proven that the man, at least since 2006, “was dedicated to getting files” of child pornography through an exchange program on the Internet. The condemned had 22,598 image files and 459 videos in his possession. They were discovered when he took his computer to a repair technician, who reported him to the police.”
This raises the idea of another ring or rings on the Internet where the exchange was taking place, covering what appears to be a large volume of material. Unfortunately, the report does not give any idea of how this operated. What is clear is that shutting down a large ring in Spain in 2006, with considerable publicity, did not deter this man from distribution and exchange.
http://www.elancasti.com.ar/internacional/2006/12/29/catorce-detenidos-espana-pedofilia-149525.html This short report from 29 Dec 2006 says that the Civil Guard has arrested 14 people located in 11 regions of Spain, seizing a great deal of paedophile material. The article does not say whether this is some sort of continued activity of Operation Voyeur or whether it is completely distinct.
Without attempting to be definitive, a further two articles surfaced rapidly.
http://www.diariodejerez.es/andalucia/detail.php?id=583224 This 10 Dec 2009 article is about Operation Dominó. Despite the operation name and being handled by the Civil Guard in Navarre as per Operation Voyeur, the cases do not seem to be linked. In this instance the ring was detected when an individual downloaded what was thought to be a music file and it contained paedophilia instead. 15 people were arrested and detained, with a further 4 being charged. One person was working in a primary school, had been collecting paedophile material for 10 years, and had a terabyte of paedophile pornography. The age and location of those charged is given, and on this occasion the ring is spread across Spain, but does not appear to have an international element.
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/07/14/espana/1216049768.html In July 2008, El Mundo reported the capture of yet another paedophile ring. This time 15 people were detained and a further 11 arrested. The locations were all across Spain, but no international component is noted. Operation Fotograma began after a person downloaded what looked like a program file from the Internet but found out it was paedophilia.
The same article gives a useful broad brush picture of the history of paedophilia in Spain. According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, there were 52 people arrested in 2003, increasing to 238 in 2006, while by July 2008, the number of arrests for 2008 was already over 250.
Before moving on to what the Correio da Manhã article says about paedophilia in Portugal, a few conclusions can be drawn.
First, paedophilia was rife in Holland and Spain, so a reasonable expectation is that it will be rife in Portugal.
Second, there is only one instance (the one in Holland) of the authorities finding paedophile activity by monitoring the Internet, and in the Dutch example, police were monitoring a self-proclaimed paedophile. This suggests that on-line detection capability is very weak. Perhaps CEOP is different.
Third, there is nothing to suggest that any of these catches were trawled to see if Madeleine McCann appears in any. Perhaps police forces routinely share such hauls across international borders, but there is no indication of this.
Fourth, all of those caught were involved in sharing, which by definition means there has to be some way of communicating to others an interest in paedophile material. In Holland, the paedophile magazine/club seems one obvious answer, but there is no hint of an equivalent in Spain.
Fifth, there is no evidence of a child disappearing in any of these tales of broken paedophile rings.
Sixth, none of these cases involves the Dark Net. It does not look like advanced security was being used by the paedophiles. There is nothing beyond camouflaging paedophile material as music or programs.