IN SEPARATE incidents, two Queensland men have been arrested and charged in relation to online grooming and procuring offences involving young children.
Yesterday, a 29-year-old Yamanto man was arrested by investigators from State Crime Command's Task Force Argos for allegedly soliciting a child online and forcing her to take indecent images of herself.
Investigations were commenced by the Toronto Police Service in Canada following a complaint they received regarding an eight-year-old girl.
It is alleged this child was coerced via social media into taking indecent images of herself.
Toronto Police referred the information to Task Force Argos who were able to identify the alleged offender.
Yesterday investigators searched a Yamanto address and located a 29-year-old man and seized computer equipment.
He was charged with seventeen charges including two counts of possession of child exploitation material, one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography, seven counts of using a carriage service to procure a child under sixteen and seven counts of using a carriage service to transit child pornography.
In a separate incident, a 40-year-old Kuraby man was arrested as part of Operation Mike Beau.
Taskforce Argos investigators identified the man after he allegedly used social media to coordinate a meeting with a child for sexual activity.
The man was unaware that he was in fact engaging with a Taskforce Argos investigator posing as the child.
The man was arrested after detectives from Taskforce Argos intercepted him at South Brisbane yesterday afternoon.
The 40-year-old man was charged with one count each of use internet to expose a child under sixteen to indecent material, use internet to procure a child under sixteen, use internet to groom a child under sixteen and possession of child exploitation material.
Both men were refused bail and are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on today.
Taskforce Argos' Detective Inspector Garry Watts said this is a very real reminder for parents of the ongoing risks associated with children communicating on social media with people that they do not know.
"The frequency of these incidents continue to cause us great concern, given the nature of the communications with this young child in Canada, the fact that she felt compelled to comply, and that it all occurred behind her parents' backs," he said.
"It is extremely important parents take the time during the Christmas holidays to look at all of the apps their children are using and get to know them and most importantly, who they are talking to.
"Children must learn that talking to someone that they don't know online is extremely dangerous.
"Anyone can say that they are '14-years-old and share the same interests' but how do you know they are who they say they are?"
"My advice to children is if something feels wrong, if you get the slightest feeling this person is not who they say they are, tell someone. It's that simple.
"Do not take photographs of yourself and share them under any circumstance or you risk getting into a situation where you are forced and threatened into doing something because they tell you to."
In 2013 Task Force Argos developed the "SELFies, keep it to yourself" campaign with helpful information for parents and children. For more information on this and the redeveloped "Who's chatting to your kids" book visit the police website at police.qld.gov.au
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
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