TARLAC, PHILIPPINES – This week, on the outskirts of Metro Manila, anti-trafficking police arrested a mother who offered to sexually abuse children on camera and broadcast that abuse online for customers around the world to watch. Two of the children rescued were her own.
A referral from international law enforcement led Philippine police to investigate Macy*. They discovered that she was offering children to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, in exchange for money from foreign customers. On the morning of June 7, 2018, IJM and police set out from Manila and made the two-hour journey to Tarlac with plans to arrest Macy and rescue children they had identified as her victims.
The operation was successful. Around midday, police moved in to make the arrest. Macy was unable to hurt children that day—five children were rescued, including a baby who was 5 months old. Macy’s own children—a 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy—were among the rescued victims. These children are in the care of Philippine social services, and IJM social workers will walk alongside them to support their healing and make sure they stay safe.
IJM’s Director in Manila, Reynaldo Bicol, spoke of the long journey ahead for these children: “Children abused in online sexual exploitation suffer severe emotional and psychological trauma. Especially when parents are the perpetrators, the pain is even worse and results in complex trauma. The road to recovery and healing can take years. Through perseverant partnership among organisations who care for these children, we believe that healing is possible and there is hope for survivors.”
This week’s rescue is the result of diligent investigations and close collaboration between international law enforcement agencies. Just last week, the police unit that rescued these victims and arrested Macy had participated in an investigative workshop led by Australian Federal Police and Dutch National Police.
In a statement following the rescue, PSSUPT. Villamor Tuliao, Chief of the anti-trafficking unit of the Philippines National Police said, “Once again, we are faced with the sad reality of online sexual exploitation of children, with the mother of the victim[s] as the facilitator. The more we are driven to put this gruesome act to be stopped.”
Chief Tuliao continued, “We cannot allow the young generation to be exploited. They must be protected as the most vulnerable sector of our society.”