Online child abuse ring smashed in NT, Qld

·2-min read

More than a dozen alleged online predators have been charged for child exploitation and abuse offences in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Police raided 11 homes in Darwin, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Mataranka, Cairns, Mosman Gorge, Mount Garnet and Mount Isa between January and March.

Fifteen men, aged 21 to 52, were charged with 45 offences related to child abuse and using internet chat forums to procure children.

These include transmitting indecent communication, using a carriage service to procure a child and indecent dealing with a child under the age of 10.

NT Police Superintendent Lauren Hill said their victims included four girls aged between five and eight years old.

"In one of these matters, investigators pretended to be a 12-year-old girl and engaged with a 28-year-old male in an online forum where the male arranged to meet with the child with the intention of engaging in sexual intercourse," she told reporters on Tuesday.

"The male was arrested on arrival at the meet site and was subsequently arrested, charged and is before the court."

NT Police also extradited a 52-year-old man from Balga in Western Australia.

He's due to appear in Darwin Local Court later on Tuesday for offences related to the procurement of child abuse material.

Northern Territory and Australian Federal Police worked with officers from Queensland Police and the Australian Centre To Counter Child Exploitation.

It's the first time an operation targeting online predators attempting to procure children through internet chat forums has been executed in the NT.

Superintendent Hill urged parents to remain vigilant and monitor their children while they're using the web.

"We encourage parents to know what their children are doing in relation to online and who they're engaging with, and where their chat conversations are, and what platforms they're accessing," she said.

"There are predators online."