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Separate Customs investigations see two New Zealand men arrested over child exploitation material

Two New Zealand men have been arrested by Customs in the past week over child sexual abuse images.

The first, a 44-year-old man, appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday after a New Zealand Customs investigation linked him to the alleged online trading of child sexual abuse publications, Customs say in a statement.

The man faces charges relating to export and distribution offences. The man also faces additional police charges relating to committing an indecent act and making an objectionable publication.

Customs began the investigation after receiving information from overseas sources about the man’s alleged involvement in sharing child sexual abuse images on a popular social media messaging app.

Customs say a search warrant was carried out at his home last week, where further evidence was found resulting in the man’s arrest.

Also in the past week, Customs investigators arrested a 26-year-old in Auckland, after a forensic search of his mobile phone found images and videos of children being sexually abused, Customs say.

The man lives overseas and first came to Customs’ attention in 2015, after an international referral for similar offending overseas. When he returned to New Zealand for a holiday Customs officers questioned and searched the man.

Customs Operation Manager Investigations Stephen Waugh warns that child sexual exploitation is a serious crime and will not be tolerated.

"Every time child sexual abuse images or videos are downloaded, uploaded or shared online, it contributes to the further victimisation of the children. This is also true if the objectionable material is taken across the border, when travelling.

"There is an entire global network dedicated to combatting the unacceptable crime of child exploitation. Here in New Zealand, Customs works closely with the NZ Police and Internal Affairs to safeguard and rescue victims, while holding the perpetrators to account."

Source: istock.com