Two-year combined effort sees 16 arrests on 738 charges in Australia

Australian Federal Police

Operation WALWA has targeted an online marketplace of child abuse material since 2018 and has resulted in 16 people arrested on 738 charges in Australia.

Most significantly, Operation WALWA also saw four children rescued from further harm.

Facilitated by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Expoitation (ACCCE), Operation WALWA captures the collective effort of the AFP, state and territory police through Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams (JACETs).

These teams joined forces in a united operation to target users of the website here in Australia, where users from around the world paid to access child abuse material online.

Investigations are ongoing in Australia and internationally. Officers from the ACCCE and state and territory police will now work to bring together materials seized for analysis and further victim identification.

It takes a network to break a network, which is why working hand-in-glove across law enforcement to remove children from harm is essential, and this unimaginable and repulsive crime is an example of the importance of these partnerships.

Cooperation with foreign law enforcement and other national partners is critical in our efforts to protect children from abuse and exploitation around the world. Predators Offenders share images across national borders – law enforcement has to share information across national borders to track down these predators offenders.

The ACCCE enhances the ability of Australian law enforcement to combat this crime type by providing education, training, intelligence sharing and analysis and referring matters to state and territory police for investigation.

Operation Walwa has delivered fantastic results in the way information is received from international law enforcement agencies and how that information is shared among Australian authorities, helping state and territory police work alongside the AFP to protect Australian children online.

See the full AFP media release here: