Zamboanga del Norte

Police rescue 7 minors from cyber sex den in remote Zambo Norte town

Gualberto Laput

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Police rescue 7 minors from cyber sex den in remote Zambo Norte town

MINOR RESCUED. A police team rescues a 3-year-old child from cybersex den in Labason Municipality, Zamboanga del Norte.

Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit Inbox

The PNP Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit busts the cyber sex den after receiving information from the Australian Federal Police

It was ruthless. It was inhuman. It was a godforsaken act.

The were the words of a seasoned police officer on the protection of women and children desk. She has seen many crimes, but none crushed her heart more than the sight of children and young women being sold to foreign pedophiles through the internet.

It was the reaction of Lieutenant Colonel Christine Tan, commander of the PNP Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit, after they rescued 7 children being used for cyber sexual exploitation in Labason town, Zamboanga del Norte, last February 10.

The youngest victim was 3 years old and the oldest 15.

“The saddest part is that the two masterminds were the grandmother and the mother of the children aged 3, 4 and 5,” said Tan, whose unit was based in Zamboanga City.

She also said: “The lola denied she has a hand on the alleged crime, and pointed at her still at large daughter who she said was behind the sexual exploitation victimizing their own family members.”

Police officers during the entrapment and rescue operation of a cyber sex den in Zamboanga del Norte.
From Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit

The rest of the victims were sisters of the now fugitive suspect, said Tan.

Tan led the entrapment and rescue operation which included the Regional Anti-Cyber Crime Unit 9 and other units based in Zamboanga del Norte.

The police officer said they received an intelligence report shared by the Australian Federal Police which apprehended a pedophile earlier. The computers of the suspect arrested by the Aussie cops showed the places throughout the world where he sexually exploited children. Among those places was Labason town.

Tan said she ordered a surveillance at the target area and learned that the grandmother’s social media account was used in the cybersex business. Her daughter collected between P2,000 to P5,000, depending on what the “client” wanted in the illicit transactions.

“The lowest is when the victims get naked in front of the camera and the highest is performing shows that includes gross sexual acts,” Tan said.

She said that after securing a search warrant, the police immediately launched the operation and confiscated the computers and cellphones used by the suspects.

“We just jumped in. We didn’t wait to rescue the victims in the act. They have had enough of that. Anyway, we already have pieces of evidence during the surveillance. We have the gadgets they were using and the evidence sent by the Australian Federal Police, yes we have a tight case,” Tan said.

The victims were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. 

She said that we used to believe that cyber crime was committed in urban areas, but now it has encroached in remote rural areas like Labason.

She said this is the first cyber sexual exploitation case in the Zamboanga Peninsula that involved children.

On April 28, 2017, National Bureau of Investigation agents rescued 3 women from a cybersex den in Dipolog City.

Tan was asked on her thoughts on why cyber sex dens existed. She said: “Perhaps we are just carried by the fast technological breakthroughs. We can access the internet anywhere we are. We can easily receive remittances from anywhere in the world and living is getting difficult with the pandemic.”

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