A 35-year-old Melton man is one of 11 Victorian men facing 105 charges related to child abuse images.

The man was the subject of a Victoria Police warrant in June and is facing charges including accessing and possessing child abuse material.

He will face court at a later date.

Federal Police said the arrests were part of a wider national blitz known as Operation Molto involving offenders in every Australian state and territory.

All up, 16 children have been removed from harm – six of them in Victoria.

Federal Police said the year-long operation began when the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation was referred to a law enforcement report showing thousands of offenders were using a cloud storage platform to share abhorrent child images online.

The alleged offenders ranged in age from 19 to 57 and officers said they were employed in a range of occupations including construction, transport, law enforcement and hospitality.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said while the hard-work, diligence and co-operation of police should be recognised, victims remained front of mind.

“Arresting offenders and putting them before the court is only half the battle,” he said.

“Identifying victims is a race against time and the ACCCE’s victim identification team is relentless in rescuing children from sexual abuse.

“Pixel by pixel, our investigators painstakingly look for clues and never give up and the tools they use give Australian police access to world leading expertise.

“Viewing, distributing or producing child exploitation material is a crime.

“Children are not commodities and the AFP and its partner agencies work around-the-clock to identify and prosecute offenders.”

Commissioner Kershaw said the scale of the problem was huge.

In the year ending July 2020, 134 children who were removed from harm as a result of Federal Police investigations – 67 domestically and 67 internationally.

In the past 12 months alone, the ACCCE has intercepted and examined more than 250,000 child abuse material files.

Of these, 44 referrals were made to the victim identification team, making up more than 4000 images and 2200 videos.

The team has also sent 49 referrals relating to victims of child abuse to 20 countries in the past year.

** Anyone with information about child abuse and exploitation is urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report

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Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

Online, radio, TV and print journalist since 1993. BA (Hum) majoring in journalism Deakin University. Send us a news tip 🙂