Teacher and charity worker among five Adelaide men charged over child exploitation offences

Five Adelaide men have been charged with child exploitation offences as part of a nationwide sting.

A 38-year-old charity worker from Semaphore and a 55-year-old substitute teacher from West Croydon were both charged with possessing child exploitation material.

Three other South Australian men from Somerton Park, Ridgehaven and Mawson Lakes were also caught.

They are among 22 people from across Australia charged with a total of 56 offences as part of a major online child exploitation operation, known as SOUTIEN, which started last month.

It involved a collaborative effort between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and state and territory forces in the first national operation coordinated by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

The ACCCE began last year and uses specialists from across a variety of sectors to tackle, disrupt and prosecute child sexual exploitation online.

Among those to be charged were also eight men from Queensland, including a 38-year-old teacher from Rockhampton and a 33-year-old chef from Toowoomba who resides next to a childcare centre.

Three men were also charged from Victoria, and two men from each of New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT.

The accused will face court in the coming months.

'Focus on removing children from harm'

Detective superintendent Dan Evans said the operation had demonstrated the success federal and state and territory police could achieve in the field of child protection.

"In operations like SOUTIEN we focus on removing children from harm and training in advanced investigative tools to help us and state and territory police achieve that goal," he said.

Glen Pounder from the Child Rescue Coalition said the operation made it possible to identify and arrest people connected with child sexual abuse.

"Training in specialist child protection systems, in the hands of law enforcement, makes it possible to identify and arrest those who are connected with child sexual abuse," he said.

"We are proud to be working with the ACCCE and law enforcement across Australia to remove those who provide the greatest risk to children."

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child sexual exploitation and abuse have been urged to report it to the AFP or to contact Crime Stoppers.



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