(LAWFUEL) – The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has identified 22 men across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland following a 12-month investigation into an online child abuse image and video-sharing network.
The AFP’s Child Protection Operations Teams seized more than 15,000 videos and 500,000 images of child abuse which were shared between members of a peer-to-peer network.
The images and video included the sexual abuse of children as young as 12
months old. The AFP has executed 28 search warrants to date which has resulted in 19 men being arrested and three other matters currently being pursued through other court processes. The latest arrest, a 24-year-old Blakehurst man, is due to face Sydney Central Local Court today, following search warrants executed on his premises yesterday.
The operation began when the AFP received a referral from the Brazilian
Federal Police (DPF) in December last year.
This information assisted the AFP to identify a number of alleged offenders found to be sharing videos and images depicting child sexual abuse on the internet. Referrals from the DPF via Interpol have led to the identification of more than 200 potential offenders in 70 countries across the globe.
AFP Acting Deputy Commissioner Operations Andrew Colvin said this operation removed at least two children from harm and he warned that the AFP will not tolerate the viewing or exchanging of child abuse material.
“The videos seized as part of this operation have to be among the worst we have seen. Some depicted sexual abuse of children lasting more than two hours,” Deputy Commissioner Colvin said. “The viewing and exchanging of child abuse material will not be tolerated in Australia and the AFP, with its state, territory and international counterparts, will continue to fight this repulsive crime. “If we are not knocking on your door this morning, then it could be tomorrow,” he said.
Visit our website at www.afp.gov.au for all the latest information on the Australian Federal Police.
This operation highlights, like many operations in the past, the importance of international collaboration for this borderless crime. “This is a reminder for children and parents, particularly over the Christmas break, that the internet is not an anonymous place, and from a law enforcement perspective, it is simply another area for police to patrol,” Deputy Commissioner Colvin said.
For a 12 month period, the AFP work in this crime type has resulted in over 300 people being charged, including 131 people as part of this year’s Operation Centurion.
The maximum penalty for the offence of possessing child abuse material is
10 years imprisonment.
Concerns about suspicious and/or inappropriate behaviour can be reported
online through www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com or to your local police.