The Australian government on Monday announced a major crackdown on paedophiles, with offenders’ assets to be seized for the first time.
In the announcement, Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) will seize car, homes and cash of child abusers through proceeds of crime laws, reports Xinhua news agency.
“If a sex offender is found to be profiting or seeking to gain from the exploitation of children, they can expect to have their bank account, their home or even their car seized,” Dutton said.
“We are going to target those who profit from an abhorrent trade in child abuse.”
It comes in response to an AFP warning that there has been a significant spike in Australians using the dark web to watch children being sexually abused online.
Reece Kershaw, who was appointed as Commissioner of the AFP in 2019, vowed that the AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) would target paedophiles in the same way it does organized crime and drug dealers.
“It is truly sickening that offenders are profiting from the abuse, degradation and misery of children,” Kershaw said.
“I make no apologies for using the full force of the law in our fight to lock these offenders away, and strip them of their tainted assets.”
The government has previously called for the cooperation of social media giants such as Facebook to prevent online child abuse, with Dutton describing them as “vital” in the fight.