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Australian Police Bust ‘Horrific’ Child Sex Abuse Ring Spread Across Five States

Four children have been removed from harm

A two-year effort by Australian law enforcement and the United States Homeland Security Investigations has resulted in 16 people in Australia being charged with 738 child exploitation offences.

Police executed 18 search warrants and arrested 16 people across NSW, Victoria, QLD, South Australia and Western Australia on 738 charges, 9 News reports. 

Authorities also announced the removal of 4 Australian children from the alleged ring, 3 in NSW and 1 in Victoria.

Queensland Police shared footage of one of the arrests. (Credit: Queensland Police)
“Queensland Police will continue sharing our expertise and working collaboratively with our national, interstate and international counterparts to target those who pose a risk to children in our community,” Queensland Detective Superintendent Denzil Clark from the Child Abuse and Sexual Crimes Group said. “Every day Argos investigators are online monitoring a range of platforms targeting predators who are attempting to exploit children.”

He added, “But the first defence in the global fight against online child exploitation is parents and carers, who we ask to be vigilant with electronic devices used by their children and monitor their children’s online activities.”

Homeland Security Australian attaché Adam Parks said the arrests came at a critical time.

“More so than ever, children are increasingly online for their schooling, to socialise with their friends and family, and to play games,” he said. “Let this be a warning that law enforcement is undeterred by COVID-19 and remains on-duty to keep our children safe in Australia, the US and online.”

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw agreed, saying the coronavirus lockdown had created a surge in activity on the dark web, including grooming and live-streaming, and warned parents to be hyper-aware of what their children are doing online at all times. 

“It is very hard to explain to a society, to people who don’t see the images,” he told The Australian. “These involve images like you’ve never seen before.”

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