An Australian investigation has unearthed an international network of pedophile parents who abuse their own children and share images of the assaults.
The operation by Queensland police, Task Force Argos, has led to the break-up of the major international pedophile ring of parents, with arrests in the US and Britain.
The breakthrough came when officers from Task Force Argos, a team of police targeting online predators, intercepted an email sent to a known Australian sex offender containing pornographic photos of children.
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Investigative leads in Australia were sent to authorities in the US and Britain, which unearthed a network of parents who abused their own children and shared images of the assaults via the internet.
“All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual abuse and exploitation, and especially from those they trust,” Brian Moskowitz, a special agent with America’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said after two US arrests.
The Australian information led British authorities to arrest the operator of an “open naturist” website open only to parents who abused their children.
The UK website operator and his wife allegedly abused their young son and daughter, filmed the assaults and distributed the images to other pedophiles.
A forensic examination of the couple’s computers recovered “chat logs” that led US authorities this week to two fathers who resided in Texas and Michigan.
The men allegedly held Skype internet video sessions with each other and during the sessions abused their children.
On Monday when US authorities executed a search warrant on the Texas man’s home, police say he admitted to assaulting his son just hours earlier during a Skype session with the Michigan man.
The Michigan man, a father of three boys, was arrested on Tuesday.
“Sadly, today’s technology in the hands of a predator with access to children has put our children at greater risk than ever before,” Mr Moskowitz said.