A GOLD Coast man accused of distributing child abuse material across social media was arrested after a United States organisation tipped off Australian authorities.
The arrest comes amid Australian Federal Police warnings to be aware of predators lurking in the dark using technology to target vulnerable children online.
An investigation commenced after the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation received reports of “suspicious online activity” coming out of Queensland from their counterparts in the United States.
A week later, on July 30, authorities raided a Gaven property and seized electronic devices, including four mobile phones, as well as drug paraphernalia.
Federal police will allege a 43-year-old man was uploading and sharing child abuse material of young boys and girls across social media platforms Snapchat and MeWe.
The Brisbane joint anti-child exploitation team arrested the Gaven man on Wednesday and charged him with Commonwealth offences of possessing child abuse material and using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.
He is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 25.
Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson, of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, urged parents to learn what online sites their children were using, and to turn off the chat functions where possible.
“This arrest should serve as yet another warning to those (allegedly) seeking to harm our most vulnerable in our community.” Supt Hudson said.
“The Australian Federal Police has seen first-hand the impact of this crime, and this is why we are a strong advocate for raising awareness about this important issue.
“We want parents and caregivers to understand how their children are being targeted and how predators are abusing technology to try and invite themselves into the bedrooms of our children.”
Monday marks the start of National Child Protection Week, an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness of child abuse prevention.
The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, which provides a national approach to combating organised child abuse, stated online safety was becoming an “increasing concern” globally.
According to a recent report by the unit, with more young people using the internet there has been an “upward trend in cases of online child sexual exploitation”.
“We need to be acting as a community to be alive to the risks that may be facing our children, and prevent online child sexual exploitation – during National Child Protection Week and every week,” Supt Hudson said.
Originally published as USA tip-off leads to Gold Coast man’s arrest