Three New Zealanders have been arrested and convicted as part of an international operation targeting distribution of child abuse material online.
The men were charged with distributing and possessing objectionable publications and New Zealand police say they were among 48 arrested worldwide.
"So far, 31 children have been rescued from abusive situations. Four children in New Zealand have been safeguarded from potential abuse," says Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael.
The arrests are part of an operation launched in July 2014 coordinated by OCEANZ – a specialist unit of the New Zealand Police working with the FBI-led Violent Crimes Against Children International Taskforce. The operation involves 67 investigators from 44 countries working closely together.
"The trade in child abuse images is a serious criminal offence that victimises and revictimises our most vulnerable members of society," says Det Snr Sgt Michael.
"As well as investigators from OCEANZ, Customs New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs, this investigation involved police and law enforcement agencies from the USA, Australia, Spain, Poland, Greece, France, Canada, Romania and the United Kingdom," says Det Snr Sgt Michael.
He says the results of the operation highlight the significant level of coordination and cooperation taking place worldwide to bring to justice those that would exploit children.