Child porn sting nets Australians
The Advertiser/Australia
March 16, 2006

Two Australians are among 27 people charged over an international child pornography ring that exploited victims as young as 18 months old and transmitted molestations live over the internet.

The arrests follow an investigation by Canadian and US officials who managed to infiltrate an internet chatroom in which people could trade pornographic images and videos, US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales said today.

"These are the worst imaginable forms of child pornography," he said. "This international undercover investigation revealed an insidious network that engaged in worldwide trafficking in child pornography."

Twenty-seven people from the US, Canada, two Australian states and Britain, are charged with possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography in connection with the case, authorities said. Twenty-six of the suspects have been arrested and one is still at large.

Two Australian men, one from Queensland and one from Victoria, have been charged over their alleged involvement, with a third man from NSW under investigation, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said today.

AFP Federal Agent Peter Drennan said the operation highlighted the international context of online child pornography and served to defeat the notion that the internet provided anonymity for offenders. "This investigation should act as a deterrent for others who may be tempted to become involved in online child pornography," he said in a statement.

International authorities have identified seven victims including an 18-month-old toddler whose molestation in April by a suburban Chicago man was transmitted live via an internet chat room to someone using the screen name "BigtDaddy619".

Internet child pornography has evolved from commercial sites with repeated material to new material traded viewer-to-viewer, said Julie Myers, from the US Homeland Security Department. "We see child molestation on demand through streaming to chat rooms," she said. "The children are getting younger and the images are getting more and more violent and graphic."

Four people are charged with molesting the children, making the resulting images available in the chat room called Kiddypics & Kiddyvids, which facilitated trading of thousands of images and videos, officials said.

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