NZ working together to fight child sex abuse crimes

  • Judith Collins
  • Nicky Wagner
  • Peter Dunne
Police Customs Internal Affairs

The Ministers of Police, Customs, and Internal Affairs have congratulated their departments for their efforts in fighting online child sexual abuse.

The Ministers say identification and rescue of victims, both within New Zealand and internationally, will continue to be a priority of their departments’ work. Police, Customs and Internal Affairs recently worked together to create a national database of images to assist in the assessment of child abuse material and victim identification. 

“Police have been leading large international operations that have resulted in multiple offenders being arrested and a number of children being rescued from abuse. One such example was an operation this year which saw 11 offenders from around the world arrested and 19 vulnerable children rescued,” Ms Collins says.

“In the past financial year, Customs prosecuted six individuals caught either travelling with objectionable material or sharing it through the internet. Forensic examination of their computers and phones located 537,636 images and videos,” Ms Wagner says.

“Behind each image or video is a child, often suffering horrendous and unimaginable abuse. People who keep or share these publications make the victims’ suffering worse. Our departments are working together to identify and catch perpetrators, and protect children.”

Recent New Zealand investigations led to the identification of an offender in Houston, Texas, who was subsequently jailed for 60 years for continuous sexual abuse of a child, the detection of a United Kingdom offender distributing child sexual abuse images online and, in a joint Customs-Internal Affairs operation, the recent prosecution and jailing of a New Plymouth man for possessing and exporting objectionable images.

“A recent letter from Interpol, the international criminal police organisation, says New Zealand is an example to the rest of the world in how online child exploitation is dealt with, especially the working relationship between Internal Affairs, Police and Customs,” says Mr Dunne.

The Ministers commended their departments’ commitment to exploring opportunities for closer cooperation, pooling their resources and expertise to foster an even more connected New Zealand Inc approach.