19 arrested over ‘worst ever’ Internet child porn bust

Images and video included the sexual abuse of children as young as 12 months old.

Australian Federal Police officers have seized "among the worst" images of child abuse they have seen following a global sting of an online network sharing images and videos of sexually abused children.

The AFP’s Child Protection Operations Teams uncovered 500,000 images and 15,000 videos of child abuse that were shared between members of a peer-to-peer network.

Nineteen men from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have been arrested as a result of the year-long investigation. The latest arrest, a 24-year-old Blakehurst man, is due to face Sydney Central Local Court today. AFP Acting Deputing Commissioner of Operations, Andrew Colvin, said this operation has resulted in at least two children being removed from harmful situations.

"The videos seized as part of this operation have to be among the worst we have seen," he said. "Some depicted sexual abuse of children lasting more than two hours."

Colvin said viewing and exchanging of child abuse material will not be tolerated in Australia.

“If we are not knocking on your door this morning, then it could be tomorrow,” he said.

The operation began when the AFP received a referral from the Brazilian Federal Police (DPF) in December last year.

The DPF referrals, via Interpol, have led to the identification of more than 200 potential offenders in 70 countries.

The AFP has executed 28 search warrants to date and more arrests are expected this week.

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Kathryn Edwards

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