10 Apr 2012

Cases of NZ child sex images rising - police

9:55 am on 10 April 2012

The number of New Zealand children being exploited in sexual images sold online is increasing, police say.

Millions of graphic images and videos of young children, some just babies, being raped or sexually abused, are circulated on the internet.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, who heads a specialist police team dealing with the online child images, says officers are finding that there are more New Zealand victims.

"In the past a lot of the images we've seen on the internet have come from the United States, Asia, Europe and eastern Europe. Now we've uncovered evidence of victims in New Zealand."

He says there are not a great number of such cases in New Zealand but it would be naive to think this country is not involved.

He says the victims are always known to the offender, and are often family members.

The Customs Service says the easy transfer of images over the internet bypasses border processes that would previously have prevented sexually explicit photos going overseas.

Customs says the victims are getting younger, and it is now seeing babies as young as two weeks old.

It says there have been cases in New Zealand where young people themselves have been convinced by someone overseas to send explicit images through webcams.