Kids saved from sex abuse livestream by NZ police

Oceanz works to save children as part of a Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) focused on child exploitation. Photo: Getty Images

A New Zealand police investigation led to the arrest of a couple in the Philippines after they were caught in the act of live-streaming the sexual abuse of their children.

Following the discovery of "disturbing content" on a Kiwi man's computer in September police here tipped off their counterparts in Iligan City who then organised a raid of the couple's home and caught them during a live-stream involving their children aged four, five and seven.

The couple are now facing charges of human trafficking, child pornography, child abuse and cybercrime.

The woman is pregnant with her fourth child and police say if they had not been caught the new baby could have been subjected to sexual abuse.

The raid and rescue of the children was down to the work of the specialist police team OCEANZ - Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand.

Oceanz works to save children as part of a Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) focused on child exploitation.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael said the arrest was "very exciting" for his team.

"We're really happy," he said.

"This is the best job in police, our investigators regularly walk home from work knowing that, for the work we have done, children have been rescued.

"That's the most satisfying feeling out."

He could not speak about the specifics of the New Zealand man's case as it was before the courts, and authorities overseas were still investigating.

But he revealed that the man was stopped by Customs after information sent to the New Zealand police by the FBI.

The man was arrested and is facing charges relating to sex trafficking and child exploitation.

"From that, we unravelled further information that led us to suspect three young children in the Philippines were being abused and live streamed," Michael said.

Oceanz staff worked closely with the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation's anti-trafficking division to located the family.

The NBI was supported in the raid by the International Justice Mission.

"They were in the middle of live streaming," Michael said.

"It was really horrendous."

The NBI division chief Janet Francisco said: "I do not understand why the parent can commit abuse, sell their own children."

Michael said Oceanz staff were committed to stamping out child sex trafficking, and he had a stern message for anyone in New Zealand that was involved - or considering it.

"This isn't a crime trend anymore, it's an established crime type," he said.

"It will keep going, there's money to be made.

"We'll keep doing our job… if you're going to engage in that kind of behaviour, if you think you can sit there and get away with it, you've got another thing coming.

"We'll catch up with you eventually."


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