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Authorities Conduct Operations Rescuing 3 Children, 6 days before Filipino Mother's Day

May 5, 2020 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES – On 4 May, the Philippine National PoliceWomen and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) and the National Bureau of Investigation AntiHuman Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) conducted a joint operation as a result of their partnership in the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC).

The Caloocan City operation arrested a 41-year-old female suspect and ensured the safety of three children who were allegedly forced to perform sexual acts on webcam for paying customers, referred to as online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). While securing the area, operatives found evidence on the scene, including a mobile phone, desktop computer, webcam and cash together with remittance receipts.

Elements of PNP WCPC Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATIPD), led by PCOL Maria Sheila T. Portento under the overall supervision of PBGEN Alessandro C. Abella, joined with NBI-AHTRAD, under the supervision of Atty. Janet Francisco, in coordination with the Caloocan City Social Welfare Department and Caloocan City Police Station.

“It is a great honor to serve in a team that carries out its sworn duty to protect the most vulnerable children from online sexual exploitation no matter what challenges current global conditions bring. Let this be a testament that law enforcers will not stop to pursue justice even through this quarantine period,” said PBGEN Alessandro Abella referring to the joint efforts of the team that carried out the arrest under unfavourable conditions.

“As a mother, I could not quite comprehend why she (referring to suspect) would do this act to her own children. Despite this, I would like to assure the public that the children rescued will no longer be abused. This just shows that criminally minded individuals will do whatever it takes to exploit minors for profit. But we as law enforcers will also do whatever it takes to apprehend erring individuals.” said Atty. Janet Francisco.

This operation started as a referral from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that was routed through the PICACC. The PICACC, a model for an enhanced global response against OSEC, is a cooperation among local and international law enforcement, namely the PNP-WCPC, the NBI-AHTRAD, the AFP, and the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UK NCA); in partnership with non-government organization, International Justice Mission (IJM).

AFP Detective Sergeant Graeme Marshall, the AFP Liaison Officer in Manila, stated, “This arrest in the Philippines, resulting from an Australian referral, demonstrates the close working relationships between the Australian Federal Police, Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, as well as all our international partners who work to ensure the protection of children around the world. International partnerships are critical to our combined efforts to protect children no matter where they live. The AFP and its international partners are working tirelessly to target anyone who seeks to exploit children, and we are not distracted by the demands of the COVID pandemic.”

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