30 Jan 2014

NZ operation nets online child abusers

10:34 pm on 30 January 2014

A child has been rescued and six men arrested in a New Zealand operation into an international child abuse network.

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Photo: 123RF

Police, Customs and Internal Affairs worked together on the operation, which started last year.

It was sparked when a Queensland officer posing as an offender received a child sexual abuse image from a New Zealander.

Search warrants were carried out in Levin, Auckland, Northland and Britain, and six people have been arrested.

The six-year-old granddaughter of one of the men arrested in the United Kingdom was rescued in the operation.

The Department of Internal Affairs says another four children, including three from New Zealand, were assessed and their safety assured, but they were not removed.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael says information from seized electronic devices is still being analysed and may lead to further arrests.

Jon Peacock from the Department of Internal Affairs say the children in this type of content are getting younger and the severity of the abuse is getting worse.

"We are seeing a change in the age. A lot of material that we are seeing is pre-verbal children simply because if they can't speak, they can't tell."