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Four people on the list of the country’s 27 child sexual predators have been arrested

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
25 November 2023 | 13:19 CAT

The bust of four of the country’s top 27 child sexual predators, with thousands of pornographic images and videos, is just the tip of the child sexual abuse material iceberg, experts say. Image: LinkedIn

Four people on a list of the country’s top 27 “child sexual predators” have been arrested.

The four men have been arrested in a week – three in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal – are part of an operation by the police to crack down on online child sexual predators identified in South Africa.

The list was drawn up by the police’s Serial and Electronic Investigations (SECI) Unit, with the help of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said SECI Unit was established in 2017 and was responsible for investigating, tracing, and apprehending serial rapists and electronic crimes relating to online child sexual exploitation.

“The unit is linked to an international tip-off line. On a daily basis, they get alerts to people who are searching, viewing, and sharing child pornography. Last year alone, we got 130 reports from this international tip-off line,” he said.

Dr Shaheda Omar, director of clinical services at the Teddy Bear Foundation, said the suspects on the SECI Unit’s list were probably individuals who would continue to produce CSAM and contribute to a string of global networks if not apprehended.

Omar added that, with the majority of children having access to mobile devices, they are increasingly likely to be exposed to explicit material or people looking to abuse them while online.

“Our increasing use of technology demands children become internet proficient. It is a risk factor, and they are not equipped to manage online predators. We know the perpetrators are very sophisticated and know how to select children,” she said.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round-Up with Annisa Essack.

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