Law enforcement arrests perpetrator behind live distance child abuse videos

In 2022, financial intelligence identified a 36-year-old Queensland man commissioning live-distance child abuse videos involving Filipino children over a three-year period. This analysis identified child sexual exploitation financial indicators in the offender’s activities. 

AUSTRAC worked in collaboration with industry, law enforcement, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and Philippine-based Australian Federal Police officers to identify victims, facilitators and network links. The AUSTRAC Child Sexual Exploitation Response Team collaborated with industry and received high-level financial intelligence for analysis and referral to the ACCCE and state law enforcement agencies. This effective collaboration assisted with identifying facilitators, victims and network links. The intelligence also identified more than 826 payments totalling nearly $50,000 sent by the man to the Philippines over a three-year period. Analysis shows that he paid between $20 and $80 for the live distance child abuse on each occasion, equating to making purchases approximately twice a day. 

Following referral to law enforcement, the offender was arrested by police, who then located evidence of child sexual exploitation material on his electronic devices. He pleaded guilty to multiple child sexual abuse offences, and was sentenced in September 2023 to 14 years imprisonment. 

In addition to identifying the man’s suspicious transactions, financial intelligence identified numerous persons facilitating the sale of child sexual exploitation material within the Philippines and several additional network members and purchasers of child exploitation material within Australia. In collaboration with industry, senders and recipient locations were identified and multiple people were arrested for the production and/or purchase of child exploitation material. 

Your reporting makes a difference

Your detailed suspicious matter reports (SMRs) help AUSTRAC provide actionable intelligence to our law enforcement partners to disrupt serious crimes, including child sexual exploitation. If you identify any suspicious transactions, submit a SMR to AUSTRAC. 

For more information on indicators and behaviours to help you identify criminal activity, see our financial crime guide on Combatting the sexual exploitation of children for financial gain. This guide can help you review your transaction monitoring programs to identify and stop payments for child sexual material and report suspicious activity to AUSTRAC. 

With your help, we can strengthen the financial system against serious crime, stop child sexual exploitation and help protect victims and the community.