Police charge man with importing child abuse material into Australia

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force.

A 43-year-old Argentinian man is expected to face Central Local Court today (25 May 2022) after he was arrested at Sydney Airport on Saturday (21 May 2022) allegedly in possession of child abuse material.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers stopped the man on his arrival from the Philippines and seized 18 storage devices containing child abuse material.

Investigations are continuing, including into whether the material the man allegedly possessed was produced during his travel overseas.

The man was charged with importing tier 2 goods without approval, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Acting Sergeant Ryan Henderson said this arrest highlighted how the exploitation and abuse of children remains a global issue.

“The AFP aims to protect children, wherever they live, and to ensure anyone who tries to harm them – or exploit abuse committed upon children – is identified and brought before the courts,” Acting Sergeant Henderson said.

ABF Superintendent Phillip Anderson, praised the continued efforts of border staff in stopping individuals who attempt to bring any type of child abuse material or other prohibited items into Australia.

“Tackling child exploitation is an operational priority for the ABF and our officers are highly skilled at identifying people at our airports who are involved in, or carrying this abhorrent material,” he said.

“The message should be clear to anyone attempting to bring child abuse material into Australia – the ABF and our partner agencies are on to you, you will be caught and you will face the full force of the law.”

The AFP is also urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.

The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.

Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

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