AFP rescued dozens of children from sexual exploitation in three month period

Australian Federal Police have rescued dozens of children from sexual exploitation and trafficking in a three month period.
Australian Federal Police have rescued dozens of children from sexual exploitation and trafficking in a three month period.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have rescued dozens of Australian children from sexual exploitation and human trafficking in the past three months, a Senate committee has heard.

AFP deputy commissioner Neil Gaughan says his officers have removed 44 children from harm across the country since July 1.

The AFP has also identified 106 children subjected to abuse, particularly in relation to the production of child pornography, who were not previously known to law enforcement agencies.

Since July 1, criminal proceedings have been launched against 40 alleged child sex offenders for 173 charges.

“By any measure it’s been a pretty successful few months,” Mr Gaughan told a budget estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.

Mr Gaughan oversees the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, which officially opened in Brisbane last month.

The centre is led by the AFP and draws on the resources of state police along with intelligence, security and border force agencies.

It targets people offending against children online through viewing pornographic images or paying to watch children been abused overseas.

The centre also targets Australian pedophiles travelling overseas to abuse children.

“Unfortunately many Australians travel to Southeast Asia to undertake child sex offences,” Mr Gaughan said.

His officers have supported the arrests of 20 child sex offenders overseas in the past few months.

Late last year, the government passed legislation aimed at stopping registered sex offenders travelling to “known destinations” where such crimes take place.

Nine offenders have been charged since the laws took effect in December.