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Police hunting child pornographers

POLICE SERVICE: The Police Memorial Church service was held at Our Lady, Star Of The Sea Church, Herbert Street, Gladstone. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer
POLICE SERVICE: The Police Memorial Church service was held at Our Lady, Star Of The Sea Church, Herbert Street, Gladstone. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer Brenda Strong

FEDERAL Police are hunting child pornographers within Australia after leads unearthed in an international child-sex sting included suspicions of cannibalism and torture.

Operation Holitna originated from Boston in the United States but led investigators to arrest 42 people internationally on child pornography charges and rescue more than 140 children since 2010.

On Tuesday, Interpol and US Homeland Security Investigators reported that images showing the sexual abuse of an 18-month-old child helped lead to the arrest of Dutch man.

Authorities are unravelling the network of paedophiles that has taken them from the US to the Netherlands and involved producing, sending and owning child pornography, plus the sexual assault of more than 60 children.

Those threads have now been passed on to the AFP which was cautious about releasing information to APN during an ongoing investigation.

A spokeswoman did confirm the AFP was now looking at people suspected of sexually abusing children and creating, distributing or possessing child pornography.

The AFP is now helping international agencies including the HSI department and Interpol.

"The AFP is involved in the ongoing efforts to identify the children depicted in the child abuse material located in possession of offenders worldwide," she said.

On July 26, an American man was arrested after authorities found computer chats discussing the abduction, torture, murder and cannibalism of children.

A spokesman for HSI at the time said it was "some of the most profoundly disturbing evidence we have ever encountered in a child exploitation case".

"We are still aggressively investigating whether any of the suspects ever actually acted on their unspeakable dialogues.

"The AFP spokeswoman said no-one involved in these crimes was safe from prosecution.

"Online activity can and will be traced by law enforcement no matter the level of sophistication used to conceal this activity," she said.

"It is a global crime and it is being policed at a global level."

Topics:  child pornography police


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