‘Appetite for child exploitation material is increasing’: Australian Federal Police

by | Oct 12, 2020 | Cops | 0 comments

The appetite for child exploitation material is increasing alarmingly, the Australian Federal Police have said, after a teenager from the Central Desert and a man from near Katherine were charged with possessing child abuse material.

AFP Northern Command Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson said in a statement, electronic gadgets and online accounts that allegedly contained child abuse material were discovered when the AFP and NT police raided his house under a search warrant last Tuesday.

She said the teen is expected to appear in court on November 17 on two charges, accessing child abuse material through a carriage service, and possession or control of child abuse material accessed through a carriage service.

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment.

She did not say in what community he lived nor how they became aware that he allegedly had the material.

“This case and the arrest of a 20-year-old near Katherine on Thursday is a reminder that there is no single profile of a child sex offender – they can be any age or gender and be found in a range of occupations,”  she said.

An AFP statement about that arrest said police allegedly found child abuse material stored on two mobile phones and a laptop computer that belonged to the 20-year-old after they raided his Katherine house. He was also charged with two charges, accessing child abuse material through a carriage service, and possession or control of child abuse material accessed through a carriage service, and also faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.

Supt Hudson said the arrest came after an investigation following a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a person transmitting child abuse material via a social media application.

She said police alleged some of the illegal online activity was transmitted from the Katherine property where the 20-year-old lives.

Supt Hudson said they alleged the man had various virtual private network applications and browsers capable of connecting to the dark web and he downloaded the child abuse material to his mobile telephones.

“Our members drove six hours for this rural warrant. It does not matter where you are in Australia: a city, the outback, a regional town – our members will do what it takes to protect our children,” she said.

“Each image and video shows a child having their innocence stolen and anyone who accesses this horrific content is complicit in the abuse.

“Alarmingly the appetite for child exploitation material is increasing every day, and it is not unusual for police to investigate matters involving alleged perpetrators who are teenagers or young adults.

NT Police Detective Sergeant Paul Lawson has also sent a warning to Territorians who sexually exploit children.

“It’s only a matter of time before we come knocking on your door,” he said.

Authorities are urging the public to report any information relating to people involved in child abuse and exploitation to CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online via the report abuse button on the Australian Centre of Counter Child Exploitation website.

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