Parents should stay vigilant when watching what their children are doing online says the Internet Child Exploitation Unit provincial coordinator.
Staff Sgt. Scott Lambie is raising the warning after one family coming forward resulted in finding potentially hundreds of worldwide victims by a male youth care worker in Australia.
"All this just goes to show you how small the world is and how these types of child exploitation files transcend boundaries," Lambie said.
On October 3, 2019, the parents of a 14-year-old girl reported to the Regina Police Service that she was being lured online for sexual activities. Through an investigation, the ICE unit found the man in Australia.
"We identified him as a youth care worker there, and we put a little evidence package together based on what we did here in Canada and Saskatchewan and managed to contact the Australian Federal Police who took it from there," Lambie said. "He wasn't on the radar for the Australian police."
The police in Australia used the Saskatchewan evidence to support a search warrant and seized his devices.
"They identified that there's well over 100 potential female victims worldwide, and our Regina girl being one of them," Lambie said.
The 26-year-old man was arrested and charged. Lambie said he pleaded guilty to 57 charges and his sentencing has been adjourned until Dec. 17. Lambie said it was great to get an offender like this off the internet and arrested to keep them away from exploiting children everywhere.
He said it shows how police can investigate anyone around the world. Lambie hasn't spoken to the victim's family in Regina as that's not his unit's role, he said, but heard the family was pleased the man was captured in this case.
He said more parents should watch for warning signs with their children.
"Take an interest in it, talk to them about it and just try to be involved in their online activity because you never know when they'll say something and somebody is trying to exploit them online," Lambie said. "Be aware of what their children are doing online, all the time."