Operation H: Massive international child sexual abuse investigation leads to arrest of 47 Canadians

Mar 3 2022, 4:18 pm

Trigger warning: This story contains descriptions of child sexual abuse that some readers may find traumatic.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has revealed that 47 Canadians have been arrested in a New Zealand-led global child sexual abuse investigation.

On Wednesday, the RCMP published a statement on the ongoing investigation. They say that along with 47 arrests, 12 children have also been removed from abusive situations.

The investigation focused on online child exploitation. To date, 186 charges have been laid in Canada as a result of what New Zealand’s Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has named Operation H.

Operation H began in October, 2019, after DIA received an alert from an electronic service provider, who noticed that a large number of their subscribers were sharing graphic and violent child sexual abuse material online using their platform.

DIA’s Digital Child Exploitation Team immediately got in touch with the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (NCECC) to share details about a secure cloud storage site which contained some of the “most horrific child sexual abuse material.”

The countries collaborated to advance further individual investigations, and over two years, arrests were made in eight Canadian provinces.

Toronto Police Service issued a news release on Wednesday, reporting that 19 charges had been laid in the city and 6 suspects were arrested. Chris Green, Hugo Molina-Macias, Brian Johnson, Gadi Braude, and Dustin Leek.

According to the TPS, here’s what the statistics look like provincially:

Cases investigated — 26
Children safeguarded — 6

Prince Edward Island
Cases investigated — 2
Children safeguarded — 0

Nova Scotia
Cases investigated — 7
Children safeguarded — 0

British Columbia
Cases investigated — 3
Children safeguarded — 7

Cases investigated — 1
Children safeguarded — 0

Cases investigated — 3
Children safeguarded — 0

Cases investigated — 2
Children safeguarded — 0

Cases investigated — 7
Children safeguarded — 2

Ontario had highest number of cases investigated (26), while BC had the largest number of children saved from an abusive situation (7). In East Vancouver, a man called Kristjon Olson racked up 26 criminal charges for creating and distributing child pornography, the city’s police department reported.

The country with the highest numbers was the UK, with a whopping 450 cases investigated and 79 children taken to safety. In total, 12 countries were involved, with 832 cases investigated and 146 children safeguarded.

“Online child sexual exploitation is borderless and is among the most heinous crimes targeting our most vulnerable – our children,” said Superintendent Andre Boileau, Officer in Charge, NCECC.

“This global operation demonstrates the importance of collaborative law enforcement efforts. The RCMP and its partners around the globe are committed to detecting, identifying and safeguarding children from online child sexual exploitation,” he said, adding that global collaborations such as Operation H can help countries protect children.

In fiscal year 2020-21, the NCECC received 52,306 reports/complaints/requests for assistance for online child sexual exploitation. They say this is a 510% jump from 2013-14.

If you want to report an instance of online child sexual abuse material, contact local police or go to cybertip.ca,

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