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Police arrest over 150 in child porn raids -

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Broadcast: 30/09/2004

Police arrest over 150 in child porn raids

Reporter: Stephen McDonell

TONY JONES: Police have arrested more than 150 men in a series of co-ordinated raids across
Australia aimed at smashing Internet child pornography rings.

Among those charged were fathers of small children, soldiers, policemen, teachers, and the owner of
three Melbourne child care centres.

During the operation more than two million pornographic images, along with hundreds of computers,
were confiscated.

And, as Stephen McDonell reports, there are hundreds more arrests to come.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Police in every State and Territory have been planning Operation Auxin for
months.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had tipped off Australian police liaison officers about
child Internet porn coming from Eastern European organised crime.

The Australian response was a strike across the country, using hundreds of police in every State
and Territory, coordinated by the AFP's high-tech crime centre.

MIKE PHELAN, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: Over the last six days, police have executed in excess of
600 warrants throughout the country and have charged more than 150 people in relation to in excess
of 2,000 child sex offences.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Those arrested include soldiers, doctors, three police officers and the owner of
several Melbourne child care centres.

Some had only one photo and some had collected whole libraries of images, with charges relating to
making videos, selling videos and sexual assault.

MIKE PHELAN: An examination of some of the images seen so far has revealed that the ages of those
children range from two to 16 years of age, and what is extremely disturbing in one series of
particular images there was a child who appeared to be only about two years old involved in child
bondage scenes.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: As well as internationally generated images, police found Australian-produced
child pornography.

And the nation's police commissioners had some strong messages for anyone who looks at child
pornography on the Internet.

KEN MARONEY, NSW POLICE COMMISSIONER: I can absolutely assure you that you cannot hide behind a
computer screen.

MAL SHERVILL, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, WA POLICE: People who view, download and distribute child
pornography consider perhaps it's an innocent thing to do, but fundamentally for every image they
download there's a child somewhere in the world who's defenceless and without a choice, being
abused and degraded, so it is a form of child abuse.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Police were visibly affected by working on this case.

The chief investigator in Queensland fought back tears as he spoke of seven children identified
from computer images who can now be helped.

DETECTIVE INSP. BRIAN HUXLEY, QUEENSLAND POLICE: I don't want to overdramatise it at all, but
really, they've been rescued from further abuse, really, that's the issue.

MIKE PHELAN: We believe we have just got the tip of the iceberg here in relation to this particular
crime type and the way it permeates throughout all sectors of society.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Police say they're expecting to make hundreds more arrests soon.

Stephen McDonnell, Lateline.

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