47 Canadians Arrested in International Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation

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RCMP

OTTAWA – NEWS – Following an international operation led by New Zealand’s Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) into online child sexual exploitation, 47 Canadians have been arrested and 12 children have been removed from abusive situations. To date 186 charges have been laid in Canada. The global operation is ongoing.

Operation H, the largest online child exploitation operation led out of New Zealand, was launched in October 2019 by DIA’s Digital Child Exploitation Team. The team received an alert from an Electronic Service Provider who discovered a large number of subscribers using the platform to share some of the most graphic and violent child sexual abuse material online.

“Online child sexual exploitation is borderless and is among the most heinous crimes targeting our most vulnerable – our children. This global operation demonstrates the importance of collaborative law enforcement efforts. The RCMP and its partners around the globe are committed to detecting, identifying and safeguarding children from online child sexual exploitation. Operation H is a prime example of how global collaboration can help all of our countries to protect children,” states Supt. Andre Boileau, Officer in Charge, NCECC.

In October 2019, New Zealand’s Digital Child Exploitation Team advised the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (NCECC) of a secure cloud storage site containing some of the most horrific child sexual abuse material. More than 90,000 online accounts were identified in New Zealand as having possessed or traded child sexual abuse material including many more around the globe.

The NCECC collaborated with the NZ DIA and Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) units across Canada to help advance their individual investigations. The operation resulted in arrests in 8 provinces over the past two years.

The NCECC is the central point of contact for investigations related to online sexual exploitation of children across the country and internationally when the victim or offender is Canadian. It includes a team of victim identification specialists trained in advanced investigative techniques including forensic image and video analysis. They work closely with other victim identification specialists around the world to identify and rescue victims of online child sexual abuse.

Reports of online child sexual abuse material should be reported immediately to local police or to Cybertip.ca

Quick facts:

  • In fiscal year 2020/21 the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre received 52,306 reports/complaints/requests for assistance for online child sexual exploitation. This was a 510% increase from 2013/14.
  • Across Canada arrests in relation to Operation H were made in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
  • Operation H brought together national and international agencies including Europol, Interpol and the 5 Eyes. In total, 12 countries were involved, resulting in 832 cases investigated and 146 children safeguarded.