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Three children rescued in the Philippines after tip-off from Australian authorities

An ongoing investigation by Australian authorities into online child sexual abuse on Monday, 4 May 2020 resulted in the rescue of three children and the arrest of one woman in the Philippines.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted operational activity yesterday in Caloocan, Luzon, following a referral from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC).

Three children were rescued and one woman was arrested for her alleged role as the facilitator of online child sexual abuse.

This outcome in the Philippines comes as Australian authorities continue to investigate suspected child abuse offences committed by an Australian citizen.

The Australian investigation was launched following the return of an Australian citizen from the Philippines in 2019. Information provided by AUSTRAC (the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) helped identify the man leading to an examination of his devices by the Australian Border Force (ABF). This resulted in him being charged with the importation of child abuse material, contrary to 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).

The ABF then provided information to the AFP regarding the man’s alleged conduct offshore for further investigation, with financial intelligence provided by AUSTRAC.

Acting Commander Child Protection Operations and Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, Paula Hudson, said the outcome demonstrates the need for authorities to work quickly and effectively to rescue children from abuse.

“We are extremely heartened that a referral of critical information from Australian authorities has helped Philippine authorities rescue children from harm,” Acting Commander Hudson said.

“International partnerships are critical to our combined efforts to protect children no matter where they live.

“This arrest in the Philippines demonstrates the close working relationships between the AFP, Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation as well as all our domestic and international partners who work to ensure the protection of children around the world.

“We are not distracted by the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue our tireless work targeting anyone who seeks to exploit children.”

View the full media release at the Australian Federal Police website here: https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/three-children-rescued-philippines-after-tip-australian-authorities