Police File 350 Charges against 44 Australian Men in Child Abuse Case

  • Police File 350 Charges against 44 Australian Men in Child Abuse Case

Police File 350 Charges against 44 Australian Men in Child Abuse Case

Police said on Friday that some of the alleged offenders they arrested, who are accused of producing their own child abuse material online, also had possession of some material made by a man arrested in 2015 as part of an global organised pedophile syndicate.

One of the alleged offenders is escorted into a Australian Federal Police vehicle in Blacktown in Sydney's west.

The ages of the accused ranged from 19 to 57, with occupations including construction, transport, law enforcement and hospitality, police said without identifying them or saying when they were arrested.

Dozens of Australian men are facing a total of 350 charges amid a huge, nation-wide crackdown on child sex abuse materials.

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. Detentions took place in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Home Secretary Peter Dutton announced in Parliament on Thursday that reports of child exploitation material to the Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation (ACCCE) had "increased dramatically".

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the charges were the culmination of months of work by investigators in a "race against time" to save the young victims.

16 children rescued 44 men arrested in AFP child sex raid

Banner for Australian Federal Police's nationwide Operation Molto against child abuse, October 23, 2020.

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

"Children are not commodities and the AFP and its partner agencies work around-the-clock to identify and prosecute offenders", Mr Kershaw said.

According to police officials, some 16 children have been removed from harm, following the operation.

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.

During the past year the ACCCE says it has intercepted and examined more than 250,000 child abuse files and made 44 referrals to its victim identification team, including more than 4000 images and 2200 videos.