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Law enforcement investigation closed down Filipino child exploitation ring

Image of man in prison

AUSTRAC information assisted a law enforcement investigation into a suspected child exploitation website which led to the arrest of more than 20 individuals. Authorities seized more than 300,000 child pornography images and a number of overseas child victims were identified and removed from the risk of further sexual exploitation.

Law enforcement officers uncovered one of the world’s largest child exploitation websites, which allowed users to post child exploitation images and request similar images. Upon execution of a search warrant on the Australia-based website administrator and operator, law enforcement officers assumed control of the internationally hosted site.

Law enforcement officers used internet protocol (IP) addresses to monitor offenders who used the website to post and trade child exploitation material. More than 20,000 internet addresses from over 100 countries were used to provide images to the site. Almost 1,000 of the IP addresses used were Australian addresses.

Analysis of AUSTRAC information identified that, over three years, the main suspect in the investigation conducted more than 30 outgoing international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) to multiple beneficiaries in the Philippines.

Authorities suspect that the outgoing IFTIs were for the purchase of explicit material to feature on the website. The IFTIs were for amounts between AUD18 and AUD480, and totalled more than AUD6,400. All funds were transferred via a remittance business.

The main suspect pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to make child pornography material available and possessing child exploitation material and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Offence

  • Child exploitation

Customer

  • Individual

Industry

  • Remittance services

Channel

  • Electronic
  • Physical

Report type

  • IFTI

Jurisdiction

  • International – Philippines

Designated service

  • Remittance services (money transfer)

Indicators

  • Multiple low-value international funds transfers to a high-risk jurisdiction
  • Multiple international funds transfers sent to the same beneficiary
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:36