Revealed: Thousands of Kiwis try to access underage sex sites daily

Customs says the trade of child exploitation images is growing, with Kiwis trying to access banned underage sex sites a thousand times every day.

There's also been a shift in the child sex tourism market - with growing concern about a flourishing industry in the pacific.

The shady world of child sex trading makes billions of dollars a year and Kiwis are increasingly contributing.

Bruce Berry, NZ Customs Investigations Manager said "we know on average there's about a thousand individual attempts to access these blocked sites a day by New Zealanders."

"The material my guys look at is horrendous. It is very psychologically damaging."

Customs and Police helped put former North Shore board chairman Martin Lawes behind bars two months ago - he'd been paying to watch child sex shows online.

The shows were being arranged in the Philippines, and Lawes' convition led to some of the victims being rescued.

Newshub can reveal a new area of focus for Customs investigators looking at child sex tourism is the Pacific.

Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia are traditional hotspots for such abuse.

But small island nations like Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are increasingly seen as destinations.

Mr Berry said the information they have points to the Pacific "as a burgeoning area for this type of tourism".

Much of the exploitation happens on the encrypted dark web but Mr Berry says that doesn't mean offenders can hide.

"As technology increases and people become more skilled at hiding themselves, we become more skilled at finding them."

Sometimes it's overseas agencies that find them. Authorities here work closely with the FBI.

And every year, we get over 3000 reports from overseas of kiwis trading in child sex images using platforms like Facebook and the messaging service Kik.

"These are growing trends - incredibly serious offending and every time someone looks at this material they re-victimise the victim," said Mr Barry.