In this documentary focusing on online child sexual exploitation, we learn early on that online child sexual exploitation is the world’s fastest-growing major crime. Yet, in the present day, less than a thousand police worldwide are dedicated to preventing it. For the majority of the runtime, the documentary follows the key staff and team of the task force ‘Argos’, located in Queensland, Australia. This task force is recognised as a global leader when it comes to these investigations. Argos has recruited agents from various nations and uses many controversial skills to infiltrate networks on the dark web. The head of this task force is Detective Inspector Jon Rouse.
The Children in the Pictures focuses on various topics and begins by telling us how the task force came to be. We hear what it was like for the crew in the early days, key cases, statistics and the great efforts it took for the team to bring criminals to justice and save the life of a young one. Those who enjoy true crime stories will be pleased by the discussions about past cases, but given the themes, it’s obviously not for everyone. After giving a firm and clear understanding of the involvement of criminal enterprises in history, we also see where these organisations are in the present day and the real risks that come for our children.
Interviews throughout the documentary with key staff members also dive into the risks of the present day. When faxes were around, their job was easier. But now, due to technology such as the internet and apps like Facebook, the challenge to save young people is even harder. This team has dealt with many criminal enterprises and is still on the front line in this ongoing battle, and this documentary respects their efforts. It’s truly fascinating and, again, alarming.
As a parent myself, I found this documentary heartbreaking, gripping and very important. It’s a great reminder for all parents and our children. If you are seeking notes on what your child shouldn’t do or to find out what apps your children should be allowed to use, you won’t quite find those answers here. Instead, you will find basic common sense and reminders on sensible things, such as the importance of being able to communicate with your child.
Overall, I found this documentary highly fascinating, but it’s also gripping and highly alarming. I enjoyed having a greater understanding of the challenges and past cases this task force has undergone. If you are a parent, this feature is easy to recommend as it serves to give a greater understanding of the past and the present dangers for all young people and what task forces are up against. The key cases which are introduced will be touching for those who enjoy true crime stories. Pacing, for the most part, is engaging, and the film certainly ends strongly with a clear message that current stats cannot be ignored. The Children in the Pictures (2021) is Available in Australian Cinemas from September 19th! To find a local screening near you, host your own cinema or virtual screening, seek help or find out how you can get involved, visit: https://childreninthepictures.org/