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Study: Hundreds of Australians paid for live-streamed sexual abuse

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Canberra – Hundreds of Australians paid to watch live-streaming of child sexual abuse from the Philippines, a government crime research agency said in a study released on Wednesday.

The Australian Institute of Criminology identified 2,714 financial transactions linked to extreme child abuse over 13 years.

The study found 256 Australians had paid 1.32 million dollars ($883,000) between them to watch the abusive content live online between 2006 and 2018.

Payments to watch the abuse ranged from 49 dollars to 390 dollars and more than half of the perpetrators made more than one payment.

The researchers linked financial transaction data to the criminal histories and online behaviour of individuals known to have been in touch with people arrested for child sexual exploitation in the Philippines and Australia.

Nicole Rose, Head of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, which provided the financial data said the Philippines was a hub for this kind of paid-for streaming.

“This can be sadly attributed to factors of poverty, a high level of English speaking, strong internet coverage and reliable services to facilitate payment,’’ she told reporters in Canberra.

“It’s alarming there’s a continuing trend of Australians purchasing, viewing and directing the abuse of children on the internet.’’

The study found the majority of the webcam child sex tourism perpetrators were likely to be in their 50s or 60s, with a majority having no significant criminal record.

They were from a range of occupations, including care workers, gardeners, accountants and even housewife.


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