A MAN has been charged following an investigation by Strike Force Trawler detectives into online child exploitation.
In November 2018, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) commenced an investigation following a referral from Queensland Police’s Task Force Argos.
Strike Force Trawler detectives began engaging online with a man from the Illawarra region.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexual acts he wished to perform on the child and sent sexually explicit images and video.
The man also made arrangements to meet with the child for sex.
Following extensive inquiries, a 19-year-old man was arrested by strike force detectives at a business in Unanderra about 10.30am on Tuesday.
During a search of the man and a search warrant at a home in Thirroul, investigators seized a mobile phone, a computer tablet, and a number of electronic storage devices, which will undergo forensic analysis.
The man was charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years of age for sexual activity, using a carriage service for sexual activity with person under 16 years of age, use carriage service for solicit child pornography, use carriage service to transmit indecent material to person under 16 years of age, and possess child abuse material. He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday February 5.
Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.
Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU; and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.