Combatting child sexual exploitation and abuse is a priority for both the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. Close policy and operational collaboration with trusted allies is essential in tackling the prolific abuse of children shared on the clear and dark web.
Officials from the UK Permanent Secretary and Home Office recently met with a range of Australian government departments including Home Affairs, the Attorney-General’s and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). Discussions were focused on the UK’s approach to tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse at scale, and seeking opportunities for greater international collaboration.
The AFP and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) have a close relationship with the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and its Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command that sit within the UK Home Office.
During their time in Brisbane, the delegation visited the ACCCE to hear from subject matter experts and tour the facility.
Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation Hilda Sirec briefed the delegation on the alarming scale of the issue from an Australian perspective, the challenges around community awareness and how we work with our partners to tackle the issue. Commander Sirec also praised the commitment and passion of the people who work in the crime type.
“Our partnerships with law enforcement both nationally and internationally, as well as industry, academia and non-government organisations are the key to tackling this crime type.
“We look to what the UK is doing in this space and it’s impressive. We’re fortunate to work closely with the NCA on a number of successful operations,” Commander Sirec said.
The delegation enjoyed morning tea with members of the AFP and ACCCE Executive, including Acting Commissioner Ian McCartney and Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Lesa Gale. This was followed by a high level operational briefing from ACCCE Covert Online Engagement Unit Detective Inspector Craig Mann.
Permanent Secretary UK Home Office Matthew Rycroft signed the ACCCE vision board, and Acting Commissioner McCartney thanked the delegation before they departed.
The group included Permanent Secretary UK Home Office Matthew Rycroft; Deputy Director, UK Domestic, Overseas Territories, Americas and Five Eyes UK Home Office Asim Hafeez; Deputy High Commissioner British High Commission Canberra Nicholas Crouch; First Secretary (NCA) British High Commission Canberra Chris Tierney; and UK Vice Consul in Brisbane Megan Hunt.