shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt shaper twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search Close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love new-tab equalizer

13 children and 2 adults in Bislig City rescued from online sexual exploitation, 5 traffickers arrested

PRESS RELEASE August 24, 2020

13 children and 2 adults in Bislig City rescued from online sexual exploitation, 5 traffickers arrested

BISLIG CITY, SURIGAO DEL SUR - International law enforcement collaboration continues to bring rescue to vulnerable children in the Philippines.

On August 20, a day before the country celebrated Ninoy Aquino Day, a simultaneous sting operation and an implementation of Warrant to Search, Seize and Examine Computer Data (WSSECD) at two different locations in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur resulted in the arrest of 5 suspects and the rescue of 15 victims from online sexual exploitation.

The operation was conducted by joint elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center - Anti Trafficking Division (WCPC-ATIPD) and WCPC Mindanao Field Unit, led by PCOL Maria Sheila T. Portento under the Supervision of PBGEN Alessandro C. Abella, Chief of the WCPC; together with the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) 10, 11 and 13, and the Bislig City Police Station (BCPS); in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 13, City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) of Bislig, DOJ Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force 13, with the support of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and International Justice Mission (IJM).

This case started from a tip from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) wherein they referred an Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) case involving an Australian national, who was arrested for child exploitation related offences in Australia. The Australian investigation identified links between the accused and suspected OSEC facilitators from the Philippines.

PBGEN. Alessandro Abella of the WCPC commends his offices because: “Despite being in one of the remotest part of the Philippines, our gallant law enforcers continue to persevere under challenging circumstances to bring OSEC perpetrators to justice – a heroic effort from our men and women in uniform conducted a day before Ninoy Aquino Day.”

PCOL. Shiela Portento, Chief of the ATIPD, says: "This successful operation shows that OSEC is a crime that requires a global response. We are thankful to the Australian Federal Police for collaborating with WCPC to make this operation happen. May those who are perpetrating this crime or are considering to commit it realize that law enforcers from abroad and in the Philippines are joining forces against them. May they realize this crime does not pay."

Atty. Janet Francisco, Chief of National Bureau of Investigation – Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI - AHTRAD) says: “Law enforcement in the Philippines, both the NBI and PNP, are sending a clear message with operations like this one: you will not buy and sell the sexual abuse of children in the Philippines. We will not allow it and we will be their guardians. We will find you and you will have to answer for your actions in a court of law."

Australian Federal Police Liaison Officer Manila, Detective Sergeant Graeme Marshall, had this to say of the Bislig operations: “Arrest of five OSEC suspects and rescue of 15 victims in Mindanao by the PNP is a significant result that removes vulnerable victims from harm and protects the broader Philippine community. This result stems from an Australian investigation and referral to the PICACC. The Australian Federal Police is a proud founding member of the PICACC and will continue to work in collaboration with the PNP, NBI, United Kingdom National Crime Agency, International Justice Mission and other partners to combat the abhorrent crime of child sexual exploitation. The Australian Federal Police particularly thanks both the PNP and the NBI for their ongoing dedication and commitment to protect children, particularly in the difficult pandemic environment.”

Atty. Lucille Dejito, Field Office Director of IJM Cebu, added that: "The success of this operation is proof that more children will be protected by restraining criminals and effectively enforcing the law. The scheme of online traffickers' pales in comparison to the dedication of our law enforcers to protect children from OSEC, the most urgent and horrible form of online child sexual abuse today. We commend our law enforcers for seeing today's operation through despite the additional difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Four operations took place within the same locality in Bislig City. The first sting operation was carried out at 12 noon. The suspect arrested was an 18-year-old female who offered 3 female victims online. They were her 9-year-old niece, 12-year-old cousin and 18-year-old best friend.

The succeeding operations took place three kilometers away as authorities carried out the issuance to search, seize and examine computer data that same day at about 12:30 in the afternoon. Upon gathering physical and digital evidence, a total of five suspects were arrested in Bislig City through these simultaneous operations. The last suspect was apprehended through an issuance of search warrant where she was caught in possession of child sexual exploitation materials.

All 5 suspects were female with ages ranging from 18 to 29 years old. Authorities were also able to rescue a total of 15 victims and children at risk, 13 of whom are minors with 2 adults. Some of the victims were the biological children of some of the suspects.

Police are filing complaints against the five female suspects with violations of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364 (Expanded Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012), RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act) in relation to RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012), and RA 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Act) in relation to (Anti-Child Labor Act).

Become a Freedom Partner Today

You might also be interested in…

see more
Twenty Years Enslaved at a Mango Farm – Now Free

Survivor Leaders in the Released Bonded Labourers Association (RBLA) rallied authorities to rescue a couple who had been enslaved at a mango farm for about 20 years. IJM had known about this couple since 2016, but they were always too scared to ever share the truth about their experience, due to the power of the owner.
Joint operation rescues 4 minors, arrests 2 suspects of online sexual exploitation of children

An Aussie police tip-off has led Philippine authorities to rescue 4 young children from cybersex trafficking and arrest their guardians. The 3 girls and 1 boy were aged between 2 and 8. Tragically, they were in the care of a couple who instead of protecting them, offered to livestream their sexual abuse in exchange for money.⠀

Social Media Helps IJM Partner NGO Rescue of 56 from a Brick Kiln

IJM and our casework partner Jai Bhim Vikas Shikshan Sansthan (JBVSS) supported a complicated rescue operation in the state of Haryana. Fifty-six people—including many young children and babies—were brought out of bondage at a brick kiln, aided by the use of social media during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Ghana Rescue During Lockdown - 3 Children Free from Child Slavery

During May's lockdown, IJM and partners conducted an operation to rescue three children, two boys and one girl, who had been trafficked into the fishing industry, which is notorious for the trafficking of children to work on Ghana's Lake Volta. IJM continues its preventative, protective and restorative work to ensure children are safe and traffickers are held to account.

You Can Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and see their abusers in court.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
Email Sign Up
Get updates from IJM on stories from the field, events in your area and opportunities to get involved.
sign up

Want more stories of rescue?

Sign up for breaking news stories, campaigns and ways to be part of the fight until all are free.

Subscriptions

IJM cares about your privacy. Read our privacy policy.