8 children, baby rescued from online sexual exploitation in Pampanga and Laguna
MANILA, Philippines – Eight children and a baby were rescued by law enforcement officials in separate operations against the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in Angeles, Pampanga on February 20 and San Pedro, Laguna on February 22.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) outlined the rescue operations in a statement, saying 3 children were rescued in Pampanga, while another 5 children and a 25-day-old baby were rescued in Laguna.
Three rescued in Pampanga operations
In the Pampanga operation, a boy and two girls – siblings aged 10, 13 and 16 years old – were rescued. They were apparently exploited online by their 40-year-old mother for money.
Members of the Transnational Crime Investigation Task Force (TCITF), the Anti-Trafficking in Person Division (ATIPD), and the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) in coordination with the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO), the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of Angeles undertook the operation in Pampanga.The rescue operation was supported by IJM and Homeland Security Investigations.
Local authorities were able to collect evidence from the scene, including two smartphones, two money transfer receipts, and lingerie.
The mother will be charged with committing violations under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (Republic Act 9208 as amended by R.A. 10364), the Anti-Child Pornography Act (R.A. 9775), and the Anti-Child Abuse Law (R.A. 7610). (FAST FACTS: Why online sexual exploitation of children happens in the Philippines)
Five rescued in Laguna
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police, the Women and Children Protection Center and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Human Trafficking Division, together with IJM and the San Pedro City Police station and its CSWDO, worked together to rescue 5 children – 4 girls and a boy – and a 25-day old baby from a 38-year-old woman in Laguna.
The baby was deemed at-risk for being in a location where where criminal online activity was occurring. The investigation found the woman was the mother of the baby as well as the rescued male and some of the female victims.
The suspect was charged with violating the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Abuse Act, and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Those rescued are now in the care of their respective city's Social Welfare and Development Office. They will receive aftercare interventions to help them overcome trauma.– Rappler.com