MANILA, Philippines – Police arrested on Wednesday, April 22, a 25-year-old woman allegedly engaged in cybersex trafficking of minors, including her own children, in an undisclosed province in Luzon.
Rescued from the suspect’s house were 7 children, all but one of them male, ages 3 to 14. Four of them are the suspect’s children.
“We assure the public – and warn criminals – that our mandate to safeguard Filipino children from online sexual exploitation remains despite the community quarantines in effect around the country,” said Brigadier General Alessandro Abella, who heads the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC).
It was the second police operation against online sexual exploitation of children or OSEC during the coronavirus lockdown imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Luzon since mid-March.
The PNP’s WCPC and Anti-Cybercrime Group conducted the raid with support from the United States Homeland Security Investigations and the International Justice Mission (IJM).
“We recognize lockdowns as an important step to contain the coronavirus, but we also acknowledge that one unintended consequence of this is that vulnerable children are being trapped with abusers and traffickers in their homes,” IJM Philippines director Samson Inocencio Jr was quoted in a statement.
Member organizations of the Child Rights Network (CRN) Philippines had earlier sounded the alarm on the potential rise of OSEC during the coronavirus lockdown.
Another arrest in Cebu
The WCPC’s field unit in the Visayas arrested on April 6 another suspected online sex trafficker in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Police secured an arrest warrant against the suspect, a woman, and her live-in partner in February. Her victim – who was abused from the age of 11 to 13 – was her first cousin who was rescued in 2019.
The suspect allegedly live streamed the sexual abuse of her cousin to a foreign sex offender in exchange for money. She was charged for producing and distributing child sexual exploitation materials.
If you come across any suspected case of online sexual exploitation of children, text ENDOSEC (space) (incident details) to 7444-64 for Smart network subscribers. You may also call the action line of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking at 1343, or the WCPC at (032) 410-8483 for the Visayas, and 0917-180-6037 or 0928-604-6425 in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
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