A 63-year-old Sydney man accused of travelling to the Philippines to sexually abuse children is expected to face court today (Wednesday, 29 January 2020) charged with possessing child abuse material and ‘child sex tourism’ offences.
A report to the AFP’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation’s Child Protection Triage Unit (ACCCE CPTU) indicated the man had regularly travelled to Manila in the Philippines, most recently between 29 November and 9 December 2019, and it was suspected he may have engaged in criminal offences while abroad.
Financial intelligence from AUSTRAC detailed the man had made 395 transactions totalling $113,000 to recipients in the Philippines over a number of years.
The NSW Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NSW JACET) launched an investigation based on this information and yesterday (Tuesday, 28 January 2020), executed a search warrant at the man’s home in West Ryde.
Investigators seized numerous electronic devices including smart phones, tablet computers, digital cameras and memory cards, travel documents, diaries and handwritten notes allegedly linked to criminal behaviour in the Philippines.
Police allege an initial examination uncovered child abuse material stored on a device. A comprehensive forensic examination of the devices is ongoing.
The man is expected to appear in Burwood Local Court today, charged with:
- Two counts of possession of child abuse material (CAM), contrary to section 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW);
- One count of possessing, controlling, producing, distributing or obtaining child pornography material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.6, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The AFP is liaising with its law enforcement partners in the Philippines via the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) to identify child victims and investigate the involvement of any other adults.
AFP NSW JACET Team Leader Jarryd Dunbar said in an increasingly connected world, law enforcement partnerships are vital.
“Any act to exploit a child for profit is one of the most heinous crime types we encounter, and that is why it is crucial we work together with other partners to stop this vile trade,” Detective Sergeant Dunbar said.
“We are committed to evolving our work with agencies who are joined in this fight to protect children, and we will continue to target Australians who are involved in this trade as abusers, consumers or facilitators.”
AUSTRAC National Manager Bradley Brown said “the arrest of this alleged child sex offender demonstrates how financial intelligence can be critical in discovering and prosecuting child sex offenders”.
AUSTRAC’s intelligence analysts are experts in detecting financial transactions indicative of child exploitation and have an important role in combating child sexual exploitation.
AUSTRAC’s public-private partnership, the Fintel Alliance, has released a common financial indicators report to help the financial services sector to identify and report suspicious activities to AUSTRAC.
Anyone with information about suspected online child abuse can alert the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.