Dozens arrested in Australia over child exploitation

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 23, 2020

The ADF said the offenders were in various lines of work including, law enforcement, construction, transport, and hospitality.

A police auto in Australia (file).

Forty-four Australian men are facing 350 charges of possessing child exploitation material after a law enforcement referral sparked a large, nationwide criminal investigation.

The AFP said it began the investigation after receiving a report that thousands of people were using an unspecified cloud storage platform to spread child-abuse material.

Codenamed as "Operation Molto", the child abuse task force of AFP was launched a year ago based on an global tip-off about the widespread sharing of child abusive content across a "cloud storage" platform.

The arrests numbered 11 in Victoria, 11 in Queensland, nine in South Australia, eight in New South Wales, seven in Western Australia, five in Tasmania and one in the Australian Capital Territory.

Some of the offenders are accused of making their own child exploitation material and several were in possession of material that was made by a man arrested in 2015 as part of Operation Niro, which disrupted a paedophile syndicate that had "material [that] was classified as the most abhorrent produced".

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said their hard work will now go into helping the victims of these unspeakable crimes.

"Pixel by pixel, our investigators painstakingly look for clues and never give up and the tools they use give Australian police access to world-leading expertise".

The AFP said it had rescued 134 children from child exploitation this year, including 67 who were not in Australia.

"Arresting offenders and putting them before the court is only half the battle", he said.

Dozens of Australian men have been charged and 16 children rescued amid a nation-wide crackdown on child sex abuse materials.

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation has also sent 49 referrals relating to victims of child abuse to 20 countries in the past year.

Deputy Commissioner Lesa Gale said traffic on dark web forums hosting child abuse material has more than doubled since a year ago, and websites regularly crashed under demand.

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