In the Australian state of Queensland, a 45-year-old man has been jailed for downloading 11,000 child abuse images from the net, some involving sex acts between men and children as young as three. He was investigated after a tip-off from US authorities, as part of the effort to combat a crime without borders.
WALLACE: The sentencing judge described the images collected by Ian Mitchell Johnston as "sexual depravity of the worst kind". A member of a paedophile chatroom, Johnston supplied child pornography in return for downloading material from other men. His case is just one of many going before the Queensland courts, as police use new powers to conduct covert patrols of paedophile networks online. And overnight in the UK, 500 police raided 50 homes, where people were suspected of possessing child abuse images. It's a crime that has exploded worldwide since the advent of the Internet.
CARR: We had one guy who was sentenced to four years in jail last year who was found in possession of half a million images, one man alone.
WALLACE: John Carr advises a UK children's advocacy group on child pornography on the net. He's lobbied his government to crackdown on the crime, because he says there's evidence from US investigations that many of the men who look at such images also abuse children.
CARR: In thirty-six percent of the cases, where they're making arrests simply for possession, they're finding that the men are also involved contemporaneously or recently have been involved in the abuse of children.
WALLACE: Queensland police say they've arrested men from all walks of life for possessing child pornography.
John Carr says that's also the experience in the UK, where earlier this week a judge was found guilty of the crime.
CARR: This was a very senior judge and sadly he's not the first judge, there's been several, a number of other judges arrested. But we've got doctors; we've got priests, solicitors and barristers. I'm afraid the whole of human life is there.
WALLACE: The majority of the material downloaded by the jailed Queensland man is likely to have been produced in Europe.
CARR: A lot of the new images are being produced by organised crime, particularly in Russia and several other Eastern European countries.
WALLACE: Increasingly police around the world are sharing information on the men downloading such material.
CARR: I am very hopeful in the medium- to longer term that we can make a major dent on this because we are just getting smarter and cleverer and quicker at tracking these guys over the Internet.
WALLACE: John Carr says he believes the public humiliation of a court appearance is proving to be an effective deterrent.
CARR: It's a message to everybody else out there who might be thinking of getting involved in this stuff: Don't do it, because you're going to get caught.