Tourist funded Aussie holiday selling child porn

A Belgian tourist who bankrolled his Australian holiday - as well as other round-the-world trips - by selling online child sex abuse material has been jailed for four years.

The man arrived from Thailand to Australia in November 2018 and had been travelling around the country on a three-month holiday, staying at a Sydney youth hostel when arrested by the AFP in April 2019.

He pleaded guilty to multiple child pornography and related charges in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court and was jailed for four years, with a minimum of two-and-a-half years, on October 15.

The criminal investigation started in February last year when the AFP's child protection operation team in Sydney was tipped off by the United States-based national centre for missing and exploited children that a man in Australia was uploading child abuse to Snapchat.

The AFP traced the digital trail and discovered the user was advertising a website selling explicit child abuse material on a number of social media platforms, including Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram.

A Belgian tourist’s camera equipment, drone and scuba diving gear, with a combined estimated value of AUD$30,000, are seized.
A Belgian tourist’s camera equipment, drone and scuba diving gear, with a combined estimated value of AUD$30,000, are seized.

 

The Belgian national was then found to be the administrator of a website that sold packs of child abuse material videos and images for $US50.

Each pack contained dozens of videos obtained online, showing the abuse and exploitation of children across the world.

A search warrant was executed then executed at a property in Haymarket in April last year.

The man had been selling the material since September 2018 right up until his arrest in April 2019, with the proceeds funding his lifestyle and round-the-world holidays.

AFP investigators identified about $US19,000 in profits from the website and a referral was made to the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) to start a civil case to restrain his seized assets.

The man has two bank accounts: one in Australia holding about $16,400, and another in Germany holding €8000; plus camera equipment, a drone and scuba diving gear, with a combined estimated worth of AUD$30,000.

These were restrained by the AFP-led CACT in the Supreme Court of NSW on October 8.

AFP assistant commissioner eastern command Justine Gough said the assets restrained added another layer to the child protection team's "complex investigation".

"The investigation started with a clue that someone, somewhere, was trying to advertise the exploitation of children for profit," he said.

"Thanks to the tenacious work of the Sydney child protection team, a man has now been convicted for trading in the exploitation of children, and we have taken steps to take back the money he made from this abhorrent venture.

"Every image being shared and bought on this website was of a child being abused. Bringing these offenders from online anonymity to jail time is what drives the AFP to keep children safe."

The man pleaded guilty to charges of supplying child pornography through a carriage service, using a carriage service to access, transmit, make available, publish, distribute, advertising or promote child abuse material, and dealing with the proceeds of crime totalling at least $10,000.

Originally published as Tourist funded Aussie holiday selling child porn



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