Leicestershire Police have managed to identify and track 185 children featured in abuse images using new hi-tech computer techniques.
In 2017, detectives from the Paedophile and Online Investigation Team positively identified 185 boys and girls – including a number from Leicestershire – through images seized from paedophiles.
Establishing the victims' identities means action can then be taken to ensure the children are not subjected to further abuse or exploitation, said a police spokesman.
Officers said the new technology allows them to dig deeper into devices – such as computers, phones and memory sticks – taken during investigations in to child abuse.
Gaining access to previously unobtainable information contained on the devices, such as date, time and GPS location data relating to the images using the new methods, has been key to identifying child victims in images, according to Detective Sergeant Bill Beechey, of the Paedophile and Online Investigation Team.
The force also has access to resources like a database of school uniforms and information held by organisations such as the UK's National Crime Agency, as well as links with overseas law enforcement bodies, he said.
The team now employs a full-time victim identification officer to work alongside colleagues who seize images from suspects.
Detective Sergeant Beechey said: "These are children we would have had no involvement with.
"They were unknown children in indecent images and we had no way of identifying them.
"A lot of them will invariably be from deprived backgrounds elsewhere on the globe.
"If it is elsewhere in the UK we will contact the relevant police force or other agencies, such as social services, and they will take the case on.
DS Beechey said the force also worked with the National Crime Agency and the national Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre to make referrals around the world.
He said: "Technology has moved on. It has made it easier for paedophiles to gather indecent images of children and to go on to arrange or even meet these young people.
"They don't even have to leave their homes to commit these offences.
"But at the same time, developments in technology have also helped the police move forward.
"It is a race between us and the offenders and Leicestershire Police is committed to staying one step ahead."