Tourist charged over alleged online child procurement - Strike Force Trawler

Saturday, 12 August 2017 12:38:59 AM

A man visiting from the United Kingdom will face court today charged with online child exploitation offences after being arrested by detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad.

The Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) conducts ongoing investigations into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children online under Strike Force Trawler.

Last week, strike force officers began engaging online with a man visiting Australia from the United Kingdom.

Police will allege in court the man believed he was speaking to a 13-year-old girl and engaged in sexually-explicit conversations with the child.

The man also told the child he was driving down the coast from Cairns and made arrangements to meet when he arrived in Sydney.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force officers arrested a 34-year-old man at Westmead shortly after 11am yesterday (Friday 11 August 2017).

Following the arrest, strike force officers conducted a search of a campervan, and seized a number of items for forensic examination.

The man was taken to Parramatta Police Station and charged with use carriage service to procure persons under 16.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court tomorrow (Saturday 12 August 2017).

Inquiries are continuing.

Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said yesterday’s arrest is a timely reminder for parents and carers to speak with young people about the dangers of talking to strangers online.

“While the online environment allows us to be better connected with people we know, it also provides opportunity for people we don’t know to connect with us – and this includes strangers talking to our children,” Det Supt Howlett said.

“For young people, any online platform that allows them to be in contact with people they do not know – and have only met in the online environment – can put them at risk.

“We know that sexual predators use social media and other online platforms to target children and it is imperative that children know what to do if they are exposed to explicit or inappropriate conversations.

“It is common for young people to feel uncomfortable reporting these types of conversations, so I urge parents to make sure they let their children know they don’t need to be embarrassed or upset – no one will judge you.

“Our priority is tracking down people who use the internet to groom and procure children for sex. We want to make sure we protect children from any type of harm.

“Finally, I want to remind young people to be careful about providing personal details to someone they only know online and take extreme caution if making plans to meet up – do you really know who you are meeting?” Det Supt Howlett said.

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

Anyone with information about internet predators should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.