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Philippines Police arrest British suspect for online sexual exploitation of children

Philippines Police brought six children to safety from online sexual abuse and exploitation and arrested one UK national.

Just two days after the Philippines National Police's Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) brought four children to safety in Taguig and arrested one suspect, the WCPC’s Transnational Crime Investigation Task Force (TCITF) and Mindanao Field Unit (MFU) found another six children and arrested one suspect in Ozamiz City.

The Visayas Field Unit (VFU) arrested one foreign national accused of perpetrating the same crime against two children in Cebu city.

The suspect,- a 62-year-old national of the United Kingdom, was arrested in November 2019 but was subsequently released when the case against him was provisionally dismissed.

As more evidence was gathered by WCPC-VFU, in coordination with local NGO—Children’s Legal Bureau, the case was reopened and a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 7.

Members of the WCPC-VFU, together with the Women and Children Protection Desk of Cebu City Police Office, executed the Arrest Warrant. The foreign national is accused of sexually abusing and exploiting two male children, aged 5 and 15 then, online; and is facing charges of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons law.

The UK National Crime Agency, which helped in the operation in Cebu, recognized the success of the operation undertaken by the Visayas Field Unit of the PNP Women and Children’s Protection Center. The NCA states:

“This operation has rescued 2 victims and safeguarded them from further harm. Dealing with child abuse is a priority area for the NCA and the potential for UK offenders to exploit vulnerable children in the Philippines and elsewhere is a threat that we are determined to tackle.”

The United States Homeland Security Investigations highlighted the value of transnational partnership in investigations of OSEC cases especially in the time of COVID-19, saying “through these strong partnerships, the HSI continues to be able to rescue those who are victimized and bring those responsible to justice both in the Philippines and the United States.”

The children are now under the care of local social welfare offices.

Atty. Lucille Dejito, Cebu Field Office Director of the International Justice Mission (IJM) explained that OSEC is a global crime that requires global law enforcement cooperation.

“We continue to see rescues and arrests happening because law enforcement agencies from different countries are taking the lead and are working together,” she said in a statement.
“IJM is committed to continue supporting law enforcers, social workers, judiciary and others who are in the front line in the fight against this deplorable crime,” she added.

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