Cybersex traders nabbed in Manila

Patty Pasion
Cybersex traders nabbed in Manila
Police catch the suspects offering P9,000 to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex during a sting operation

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine police recently arrested two cybersex traffickers in Manila, part of the over 100 arrests made by local authorities in several countries participating in the annual operation of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against human trafficking.

Police caught Jamil Sampaga and Anthony Mabasag offering P9,000 to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex during a sting operation on Sunday, October 15. 

Sampaga also offered an undercover cop sexually explicit materials and in-person sex, the PNP Women and Child Protection Center (WCPC) said in a statement on Friday, October 20.

Police Chief Inspector Michael Virtudazo of the WCPC Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division said that Sampaga has been involved in sending child abuse materials that include sex shows and child pornography videos. The suspect hosts several social media accounts to offer these illegal content to clients worldwide.

The two suspects, who have been under investigation since July this year, were tipped to Philippine authorities by foreign counterparts Nordic Liaison Office and the FBI.  

This case was part of the FBI’s Operation Cross Country XI, an annual law enforcement action on sex trafficking participated in by the WCPC and the International Justice Mission (IJM).

“This year’s coordinated operations took place with several international partners, including Canada (Operation Northern Spotlight), the United Kingdom (Aident 8), Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines,” the FBI said in a statement on Wednesday, October 18.

The operation led to 120 arrests of suspected sex traffickers in those areas.

WCPC and IJM believe that the two suspects arrested in Manila were part of a larger group of sex traffickers. 

Sampaga and Mabasag have undergone inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice. They are facing charges of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Pornography Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

The 17-year-old victim is now in the custody of the Manila City Social Welfare and Development Office where she will receive psychological rehabilitation after experiencing sexual abuse. – 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.