A specialist police team formed last October has rescued six New Zealand children from “internet sex abuse settings”, Police Minister Judith Collins told Parliament in response to a question about the internet and child safety.
The team is called OCEANZ, which stands for Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand.
Collins says the squad was formed to coordinate international operations into online paedophile networks and to identify and rescue victims of abuse. It also targets those who produce images of abuse for financial gain.
“The team has already rescued six children from current sex abuse settings, safeguarded a further 25 children from potential sex abuse, and identified another two victims from images seized during its investigations.
“The team’s work has also led to an offender in the UK being arrested for extremely serious offences.”
Collins says the police have joined the Virtual Global Taskforce, which is made up of law enforcement agencies from around the world, working together to fight child abuse online.
“This will strengthen the efforts being conducted on an international scale to break online paedophile networks, and to protect and rescue children from abuse,” she says.
OCEANZ also shares intelligence locally with enforcement agencies such as district-based child exploitation squads, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and Customs.