Seventeen children have been rescued and 11 adults arrested for sex abuse crimes committed in various countries after a New Zealand man was investigated for trading in objectionable material.

Drew Webb was yesterday jailed for six years on 47 charges involving making, distributing, importing and possessing objectionable child sex abuse photos and videos.

The images included toddlers and babies while some of the videos included children being abused in bondage.

His offending was uncovered August 2014 after an online video chat website reported his activities to the department.

Advertisement

Following an investigation into his offending, 11 other adults from various countries were arrested after trading objectionable material with Webb of children being sexually abused.

Meanwhile, 17 children, including a 6-year-old girl from Houston, were rescued.
During the sentencing at Christchurch District Court, Webb admitted an interest in girls over the age of 3, preferring images of girls aged 6 to 6, Christchurch Court News reported.

Those arrested overseas included caregivers, parents, and a kindergarten teacher, who had traded child sexual abuse images with Webb.

It was revealed Webb had pretended to have access to a daughter whom he could abuse to encourage others to abuse children and send him objectionable material as part of an arranged swap.

The charges were brought by the Department, NZ Police and NZ Customs after separate investigations.

Internal Affairs' Community Safety Manager, Steve O'Brien, said the crimes involved real children forced into degrading acts.

"It is important for our community to remember that. The children who are featured in objectionable images are themselves victims, coerced into participating in photographs and films by sick and dangerous people.

"Trading or viewing these images is not passive offending because it condones the abuse children suffer. People, who look at this, pass it on and use it, encourage those who actually photograph the children."

Timeline


June 2014

- Webb's activities are reported to the Department of Internal Affairs.

August 2014 - Webb's laptop and mobile phone are seized after the department executes a search warrant of his address. Four days after the seizure, Houston police are alerted to the abuse of a six-year-old girl.

November - December 2014 - He departs the country for a holiday and upon his return is discovered by Customs with a mobile phone containing objectionable material.

October 2015 - A second search warrant was executed at his new address in Christchurch where police find a cellphone concealed under the carpet of a wardrobe containing objectionable material.

May 2016 - Webb is jailed for six years on 47 charges involving making, distributing, importing and possessing objectionable child sex abuse photos and videos.

- Department of Internal Affairs