348 people arrested, 386 children removed from harm, 350,000 images and over 9,000 videos of child sexual abuse found, the website earning over $4 million a year shut down – all this as a result of a major investigation that ran for 3 years and spread to 50 nations.
The figures above came to the world’s attention after the string of arrests performed by various law enforcement agencies around the globe. It all started with investigation into a child pornography website lead by Canada.
While paedophilia is a deplorable crime in itself, what I found especially appalling is professions of people arrested on paedophilia/child pornography related charges. Among those arrested were 40 school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, 32 people who volunteered with children, six law enforcement personnel, nine pastors or priests, and three foster parents. All these people are the very same who supposedly would be the most obvious choices for a child to turn to when looking for protection.
Arresting all these people is an achievement the Police services all over the world can be really proud of. However, the question now is – what will happen to those who got arrested and later (hopefully) convicted? Will they get a significant jail time, or will they just get a slap on a wrist and be out on a street in a couple of years, ready to do it again, only with more cunning and more devious ways to lure the victims and avoid being caught?
What’s equally important, how can we make sure that these people do not re-offend? In Australia, we do not have an official registry of known sex offenders. And when people like Darryn Hinch speak up, they are the once who end up in trouble with the law.
I think it’s long overdue for us to stop relying on individuals like Hinch and on NGO’s like Movement Against Kindred Offenders and start applying pressure on State and Federal governments to enforce stricter penalties for sex offenders and a central data base of all known sex offenders.