Images: Operation Underground Railroad An unusual alliance of international activist groups, Mexican prosecutors and a dog trained to sniff out memory devices joined forces this month to catch a high-profile suspected pedophile in Mexico City.First, Free a Girl, a Netherlands-based group that fights human trafficking, tipped off activists at the U.S.-based Operation Underground Railroad that Jason Maatman, a Dutch man who openly advocated sex with children, had gone to Mexico after fleeing pending court cases in the Netherlands.Maatman apparently thought loose Mexican law enforcement would allow him to operate freely in Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis of 21 million where most crimes go unpunished.But he didn’t count on Hidu, a recent graduate of a dog academy that teaches canines to sniff out triphenylphosphine oxide, or TPPO, a chemical coating used in electronic devices like flash drives and memory cards."Three weeks ago, we learned that Nelson M.
seemed to be active in Mexico, and was a serious danger to children," said Evelien Hölsken, the director of Free a Girl. She said the group contacted Underground Railroad "and asked if they could start an investigation."Maatman was apparently so sure of himself he talked openly about his activities on the internet.
But Mexican prosecutors were ready to work with the nongovernmental organizations.Operation Underground Railroad, or OUR, quickly set up a plan to lure Maatman into a trap, using the chat rooms and social media spaces he was active on."We were able to confirm he was in Mexico and then talking to him in just different chat rooms.