Sun Dec 04 14:18:28 SAST 2016

Durban child a victim of pornography ring bust by SAPS and US Homeland Security

TMG Digital | 2016-11-30 15:07:25.0

Image by: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier

A South African child has been found to be a victim of a pornography ring arrested on Wednesday as part of a joint investigation by the SA Police Service and US Homeland Security.

Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said three suspects have been arrested in Durban for allegedly being involved in child pornography.

The bust was conducted as a joint operation by members of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Head Office in Gauteng‚ the KwaZulu-Natal Family Violence‚ Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units (FCS) and the Pretoria based members of the US Homeland Security.

"The trio‚ who are aged between 29 and 47‚ were arrested in Bluff‚ Pinetown and Waterfall areas on Tuesday after an intensive investigation by members of the Durban FCS Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation Unit (SECI)."

The suspects were found in possession of pornographic material and illegal ammunition‚ Mohlala said.

"The police investigation revealed that the suspects were involved in access‚ sharing‚ downloading and distribution of child pornography.

"One of the victims is a 6-year-old child whose images were discovered by the police in the cellphone belonging to the Bluff suspect. The police investigation revealed that the victim also lives in Bluff."

The police investigation is continuing and will determine whether more suspects are involved in this "heinous crime"‚ Mohlala said. The suspects were charged with access‚ possession and distribution of child pornography‚ sexual assault and possession of illegal ammunition.

They join a growing list of suspects arrested as part of the police's operation against the online sexual exploitation of children.

In August‚ a 39-year-old Free State man‚ whose full names cannot be disclosed in order to protect the identity of his victims‚ was convicted on 933 charges including 37 counts of rape‚ 18 counts of sexual assault‚ 541 counts of possession of child pornography‚ 108 counts of distribution of child pornography and 228 counts of manufacturing of child pornography.

Amongst his victims were two of his own daughters.

He was first arrested in 2014 after Canadian police managed to trace the IP address of someone sharing sexually explicit images of minors with other overseas-based paedophiles‚ to South Africa.

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