2-year-old boy, 6 others rescued from Bacolod cybersex den
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Police rescued 6 minors and a young woman from a suspected cybersex den in Barangay 26 in this city on Thursday, July 13.
Authorities arrested a 35-year-old woman during an entrapment operation, the mother of two of the minors and aunt of two others rescued, said Senior Inspector Lawrence Ibo, team leader of Women and Children Protection Center-Visayas Field Unit based in Cebu City.
Police rescued the suspect's children – a two-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl – as well as her nieces aged 17 and 22, and her neighbors aged 5, 14, and 16, Ibo said.
The suspect was placed under surveillance for a week following the reports of her illegal activities. She allegedly took pictures of her neighbors' bathing children and sent it to her customers.
Ibo said the suspect was caught in the act of offering her 5-year-old daughter to a customer to perform sexual acts live streamed online in exchange for money.
He said the suspect had been operating the business, which she “inherited” from her elder sister, for 3 years now.
Ibo said that police is "conducting further investigation" to locate other victims.
He said the customers of the suspect were mostly foreigners who paid through money remittance service. The payment for the live show exploiting nude children ranged from P1,000 to P25,000, Ibo added.
The 6 minors were turned over to the custody of the City Department of Social Welfare and Development while the suspect was detained at Police Station 4.
The suspect will face charges for child abuse and violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
This is the fourth cybercrime case uncovered by the authorities in Bacolod in since May, when several female minors were rescued from cybersex operations in Barangay Barangay Handuman. Like the latest case, the mother of a victim was involved.
In the same month, 3 women were arrested in separate operations in two barangays, while a 62-year-old American was nabbed after he allegedly uploaded sex videos of him and his multiple partners on the internet.
Superintendent Maria Shiela Portento, head of Women and Children Protection Center-Operation Management Division based in Camp Crame, said cases on online sexual exploitation of children in the country is alarming.
She cited 3 factors why these cases are prevalent in the Philippines.
"First, the foreigner can easily engage because we can speak good English. Second, the facilitators are family members so there’s trust, and lastly, internet is readily accessible," Portento said.
She also said they are strengthening the information campaign and awareness about these cases, “but more effort is still needed.” – Rappler.com