Aussie sex predators pay $15 as parents ‘agree to abuse’
Exclusive: An increase in online child sexual abuse has been turbocharged by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Police believe people being at home and using personal computers instead of work computers has contributed to a big increase in the volume of child sexual abuse materials being circulated online, in chat rooms and on the dark web.
New figures for the period March 9 to June 1- the COVID-19 lockdown period - show 50 people were arrested and 227 charges laid relating to the distribution of child sexual abuse materials.
This was a 127 per cent increase on the same period last year.
In Queensland, four people were arrested on 14 charges, while 13 arrests in NSW led to 38 charges being lodged.
Eight people in Victoria were arrested and hit with 86 charges, while nine people faced 33 charges in WA.
In the ACT, there were eight arrests resulting in 12 charges, six arrests which led to 36 charges in South Australia, and one person was arrested in Tasmania and faced seven charges.
The increase is part of a wider trend which has seen increases in the production and distribution of appalling online child sexual abuse.
Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson, from the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, said the increase in internet connectivity in the Philippines had made it a hot spot for online child sexual exploitation.
"Parents agreeing to have their own children victimised for the money with the global shutdown due to COVID-19 pandemic is increasing this phenomena,'' she said.
"Children are being forced by the people meant to love and protect them into the most appalling violence on camera, often live streamed to customers in western nations including Australia.
"Our recent arrests in Australia demonstrate and reveal that a mother offered up her children to perform sexual acts in front of a camera, exploiting them to make money. It's hard to comprehend.
"Not only are Australians among the perpetrators, they are shamefully in the top three countries for consuming lifestreamed child sexual abuse from the Philippines. Australian offenders pay as little as $15 for online child sexual abuse and we have even seen parents and relatives responsible for facilitating such abuse".
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Aussie sex predators pay just $15 as parents 'agree to abuse'