A Winnipeg man has been arrested for sharing child pornography with children he met in a video chat room.
Winnipeg police said the man was communicating with kids under the age of 14 on a video chat website where users are randomly connected with others.
The man shared child porn on the chat room and also recorded his video chats with children and played them back for others.
The Winnipeg police internet child exploitation unit began investigating in June 2016 after the website reported the incident to a national agency. Police don't believe the victim is a local resident.
Investigators searched the Winnipeg suspect's home on Roslyn Road in March 2017 and seized a number of electronic devices.
"When we seize these devices sometimes they'll not only have certain locks on them, but the amount of information we get off these devices is very massive and it takes a lot of time to comb through," said Const. Jay Murray, when questioned about the amount of time it took for police to make an arrest in this case.
"I don't think our investigators ever want to miss anything critical. That could be the difference between saving someone locally or foreign or not," said Murray.
Initially, the Winnipeg man, who is 42, was charged with possession of child pornography and making child porn available.
On Thursday, more charges were laid against him, including commission of an indecent act, invitation to sexual touching and luring a person under 14 through telecommunication, among other charges.
All of the charges are connected to the man's use of the internet chat room.
The man is currently being held in custody.
"This is a bigger issue than I think we're all aware of," said Murray.
Social media plays growing role
On Friday, York Regional Police in Ontario said 104 men were arrested "for purchasing prostituted children" in a child sex trafficking investigation that lasted four years. Investigators said social media is playing a growing role in human trafficking.
"If they're using social media, the pimps are trolling. Every day, there's some other application out there," said York Regional Police Det.-Sgt. Thai Truong.
The Winnipeg man charged today was also charged in 2005. Those charges included sex assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, but those charges were stayed the following year.
Winnipeg police echoed the concerns of police in York when it comes to crimes against children online.
"We do live in a digital age now. Everyone communicates digitally, and that's the reality of things. So as we go forward, you may see more investigations like this," said Murray.