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Rise in child porn cases during lockdown

Child abuse and the spread of child pornography is on the rise as more Australians access the dark web.
Police say there has been a disturbing increase in Australians downloading and sharing illegal images during the coronavirus lockdown period.

The Australian Federal Police is working with Home Affairs, telcos and other agencies on how best to “deliver a stronger punch into the dark web”, commissioner Reece Kershaw told a parliamentary committee today.

People are using the dark web to purchase opioids like fentanyl and elephant tranquilizer carfentanil, with sometimes deadly consequences.
Child abuse and the spread of child pornography is on the rise as more Australians access the dark web. (9News)

“The amount of, whether it be from guns to drugs to child abuse material that you can access within minutes, it’s not good at all for the health of our nation. It’s quite disturbing,” he said.

“We want to disrupt that.”

The rise in sharing child pornography has alarmed police and Mr Kershaw said there had been a definite increase during the virus period because more people were using the dark web and spending more time there.

“We’re not alone – the rest of the Western world has a real issue,” he told the committee.

“It’s not so great in some of our other (neighbouring) countries nearby, which is interesting in itself, but (offenders) have certainly taken advantage of those vulnerable communities offshore.

“I think it’s a real threat to the fabric of our society, young people being damaged through all of this.”

Police are also readying for an expected increase in organised crime once coronavirus restrictions ease around the world.

Mr Kershaw said the AFP and overseas police forces had shared intelligence that while organised crime and international syndicates had gone quiet as movement was curtailed, they were planning multiple operations once freedom was restored.

“We’re taking advantage of this COVID-19 and we’re coming after all these groups,” he said.

“They probably don’t realise – and I’m probably giving away some of my strategies here – but we’re going to … turn over every rock, dig underneath it and do whatever we can to prevent and disrupt these particular syndicates.”

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© AAP 2020

Source: 9News

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