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Child Exploitation Material should be Prime Ministers focus

17th October 2019

"So many of our children are being violently harmed. Their innocence stolen and their bodies used for the sexual gratification and financial gain of those involved in the dark world of paedophillia. These innocent children are voiceless; nobody hears their screams."

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has allocated $17m for a new team to target online violent extremist content. But Victim advocate group Sensible Sentencing Trust say spending $17m on this does not sit well with them when there are so many other serious criminal issues that desperately need addressing right now.

Sensible Sentencing Trust National Spokesperson Jess McVicar said "If the Prime Minister wants to tackle online safety, then let her direct the funding towards protecting our most innocent victims against online sexual abuse.”

Child Exploitation Material (often referred to as Child Pornography) is a horrific crime that violates, harms and abuses innocent, vulnerable victims; babies, toddlers and young children are forced to engage in abnormal sexual behaviour - cruel and demeaning sexual acts, torture, violence, sadism and bestiality. These such crimes result in long term psychological, emotional, physical and sexual scarring that lasts a lifetime.

“New Zealand is not immune to this criminal offending. Many of our children are victims of these horrific crimes. This is no longer just an overseas issue. So many of our children are being violently harmed. Their innocence stolen and their bodies used for the sexual gratification and financial gain of those involved in this dark world of paedophillia. These children are voiceless; nobody hears their screams.”

With the ever-increasing advancement of technology, the dedicated teams within New Zealand Customs, the Department of Internal Affairs and the New Zealand Police tackle the overwhelming demand of this horrendous type of criminal activity, trying to eliminate the ongoing deprivation of these crimes. They work tirelessly in a job that is incredibly difficult and emotionally exhausting. They must view the most inhumane violence to try and identify the source - both the perpetrators and the innocent victims.

Jess said “Child Exploitation Material has a huge network on the internet. It has become a multi-billion-dollar online industry, with over 100,000 sites dedicated to this criminal activity. It is one of the fastest growing online businesses. With computer and online technology, sexual predators can gain access to a vast number of disturbing images just with the click of a button. This access is all carried out in secrecy with minimal cost and effort. Pictures, videos and images of children being sexually abused can be readily accessed online, through the use of emails, chat rooms, websites, and now with the use of real time interactive experiences, with webcams, video chat rooms, and social networking.“

“It is widely recognised that even after the sexual abuse has come to an end, the continued distribution and circulation of child abuse images results in the ongoing victimisation and gross invasion of the privacy of the victims. The victims of such abuse must live with the knowledge that images of their childhood abuse will continue to exist on the internet for the sexual gratification of strangers.”

The Trust say the $17m could go a long way in stopping the online abuse of our most vulnerable. "Online child sexual abuse is real; our children are not safe from this violence. These crimes are happening NOW. We need the resources to eliminate the access to these cruel and violent crimes. These predators must be stopped!"

“Please Prime Minister, treat this with the urgency it deserves and make the innocence and safety of these wee babies and children the top priority; put the $17m towards tackling the horrific online sexual abuse of babies and children now.” ENDS



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