CEBU, Philippines – A joint operation on November 30 spearheaded by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) rescued a child in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City, who was allegedly a victim for months of online sexual exploitation and abuse by her own mother.
Also part of the rescue team were officials from the NBI Cebu District Office, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development Central Visayas Field Office (DSWD-FO7).
NBI-7 said in a press statement sent to Rappler that it initially received information about the alleged cybersex trafficking from the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) in Norway through the Nordic Liasion Office in Manila on October 10.
“The information stemmed from the fact that on or about June 28, 2022, a Norwegian national named Raymond Harper was arrested by the Norwegian Police for possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM),” read their statement.
Authorities found chat messages between the mother and Harper from a Whatsapp application on the latter’s digital device that included exchanges of indecent and sexualized images of the child.
“Subject utilized social media platform to offer the minor-victim to paying foreign customers for the purpose of production and selling CSAMs in exchange for money,” the NBI report stated.
The CSAM were dated between June 23 to July 1. Investigators managed to identify the victim as being only four years old when the images were taken.
The NBI also suspected that the mother unlawfully assumed the identity of another individual by the name of Winston Comilang Aldave during the said transactions.
On December 2, the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division and Central Visayas Regional Office filed four complaints against her at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office. These were:
- Computer-related Identity Theft under Republic Act 10175 or the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012”
- Violation of Republic Act 9208 or the “Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003″, as amended by Republic Act 10364 or the “Expanded Antri-Trafficking Persons Act of 2012” in relation to Section 6 of the Republic Act 10175
- Violation of Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”
- Violation of Republic Act 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009”
According to NBI-7 agent Coro Lastimoso, the mother was not detained during the rescue because she was not in possession of the CSAM nor was she caught in flagrante delicto doing an illicit online show.
“After sending the videos/photos, she would immediately delete it. That’s why a warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data was applied on her phone for forensic examination and to recover what she has deleted,” Lastimoso said.
The agent added that the suspect was previously arrested for peddling her younger sisters but their mother filed a desistance on the case.
As of this writing, the child/victim is under the care of the DSWD-FO7. – Rappler.com