Victoria, Australia: The Australian Federal Police announced on Monday, May 17, 2021 that an arrest had led to the rescue of fourteen children between the ages of 2 and 17 that had been victims of child sexual abuse in the Philippines.
This is the second investigation into child abuse material that has had international ramifications in recent months. The first was Operation Arkstone which has resulted in 17 arrests and over 800 charges as of January 2021.
According to the statement concerning this newest bust, officers initially arrested another individual that investigators believed was "paying for live-distance child exploitation."
During further investigation into that man and the electronic devices that had been seized, officers found ties to the Philippines which resulted in the rescue of 9 children between the ages of 2 and 16 and the arrest of a woman in February.
The Australian arrest that resulted in the rescue was that of a 68-year-old man. On a computer seized during the investigation, officers found online communications where the man was alleged to have been engaging in "pay-per-view child abuse content" with individuals in the Philippines.
Authorities in the Philippines acted on the tip and have rescued six girl and eight boys between the ages of 2 and 17. They are now in the care of a local social welfare organization.
On May 7, three women and a man were arrested for their suspected role in the child sexual abuse in Bombon within the providence of Camarines Sur.
Investigators state that evidence recovered contained not only child sexual abuse material but also money transfer receipts related to transfers sent from foreigners.
"Our investigators are dedicated to protecting children in Australia form abuse and worth with law enforcement across the world to do the same," Australian Federal Police Commander Todd Hunter said.
"Our message to offenders accessing or exchanging child abuse material online is that we will never stop trying to identify anyone involved in bringing harm to children and bringing them before the court."