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Police bring two girls to safety from online sexual exploitation in the Philippines

MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – Philippine police rescued two girls and arrested a 39-year-old woman in an operation against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) on Friday 29 October 2021.

IJM and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) supported the operation conducted by Philippine national and local police alongside social services.

The arrest took place at around 3:30 p.m. in Bagong Silang, the Philippines’ most populous barangay (district or neighbourhood), located in Metro Manila. Authorities rescued two female victims – the suspect’s 16-year-old cousin and 8-year-old niece – at the scene. The minors were taken to a designated shelter after undergoing the necessary trauma-informed care for child survivors.

Police Brigadier General Alessandro Abella, Chief of the Women and Children’s Protection Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP-WCPC), had this to say of the suspect:

“She was supposed to be taking care of them, but instead she did the opposite and exploited them online for monetary gain. We won’t stop until all are free from online sexual exploitation of children.”

The case originated in the United States, when FBI agents arrested an American national on suspicion of facilitating crimes of online sexual exploitation involving minors. The case was then referred to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC), of which IJM is a member, for investigation into the local trafficker involved.

Police Colonel Maria Sheila T. Portento added to Brigadier General Abella’s statement by saying that:

[This] is indeed a crime with no borders. Inter-agency cooperation with our foreign counterparts is vital to bring justice for all victims in both parts of the world.

Learn more about the crime of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

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