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March 2011
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OCEANZ joins global bust

Three victims of paedophilia were saved and 16 other children safeguarded in the New Zealand phase of a major international operation this month.

The three-year Operation Rescue exposed more than 70,000 members of a global paedophile ring in countries including the UK, US, Australia, Thailand and New Zealand.

More than 180 arrests were made internationally. Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, officer in charge of the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) unit, says in New Zealand to date six people have been charged with offences relating to paedophile activity as a result of the operation.

Five have already been convicted and one is still awaiting trial. Two of those charged had previous convictions for sexual offending.

The suspects were members of an online forum, boylover.net, which operated from a server in the Netherlands. As a ‘discussion only’ forum, people could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any specific offences. Once members had made contact, they moved to more private channels such as email to share illegal images and films of children being abused. The website has now been taken down.

The unit’s primary focus is where Internet use points to contact offending. Staff work closely with Internal Affairs and Customs – government agencies with responsibilities in objectionable images and their illegal importation.

Strong connections are also nurtured with Interpol and other law enforcement agencies, particularly those in Australia, UK, Europe and North America.

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