Kiwis charged over online child abuse
Wed, 23 May 2012 5:11a.m.
Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain is applauding the role a small team of officials in New Zealand played in a global sting on people distributing images of children being sexually abused via social networking sites like Facebook.
Operation Laminar, which spanned 20 countries, snared 55 offenders and saw 12 abused children, including one from New Zealand, removed from harm.
Five New Zealanders, who played lesser roles in the groups, were uncovered in the investigation that led to operation Laminar. They are all facing court action.
It was triggered by the work of the Department of Internal Affairs censorship compliance unit.
In October 2010 the unit found significant numbers of images showing children being sexually abused and exploited being exchanged through groups on social networking sites like Facebook.
International law enforcement agencies were alerted and the Department of Internal Affairs provided evidence to the countries involved in the operation.
"It's a small team of 12 highly regarded people who have proven to be integral to the worldwide effort to combat child sexual abuse," Mr Tremain said.
He said child abuse was a global issue requiring a global response.
Department of Internal Affairs spokesman Maarten Quivooy says the 55 people identified in the investigation are regarded as the "top offenders" in the trade of objectionable images.
Mr Quivooy told Radio New Zealand his group used Facebook to form relationships with offenders and identify abused children.
"We were able to identify them [children], we were able to identify which country they were in, we were able to alert the appropriate authorities in those countries," he said.
"We are generally talking about children under 12."
Most of the 55 are in prison or are facing prosecution and some were also involved in the sexual abuse of the children in the images.
The countries involved in the operation were Australia, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.
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23/05/2012 11:04:33 a.m.
Like Neil, its great that this has been stopped but a concern that facebook was being used without them knowing. Unfortunately James J.Read it is nothing to do with publicly naming them or even the punishment it is what society has become and who we are. We all need to change the way we think and act to become more caring and loving to each other but I do not see that happening any time soon. Maybe we just have to learn to live with the fact that we are nasty, violent creatures with little concern for our neighbours. Religion was invented to control and manipulate our thoughts, basically to do good, but the fabrication and conflict it causes between different groups is ever more a burden and we appear to be out growing this dated system and so are losing our path once more. Society is spiraling down fed by greed with money becoming our new god to worship. World leaders are only interested in maintaining the control over the masses regardless of what that turns us into.
23/05/2012 10:32:25 a.m.
James J.REad wrote:
Often these offenders get name suppression, supposedly to protect the identity of victims.If they knew hey would be publicly named, they might be deterred.
23/05/2012 10:25:08 a.m.
While I am rapt that this has happened I'm really concerned Facebook didn't pick this traffic up - They've even blocked girls for showing bare boobs - how come that didn't pick this horror up?
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