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Joint operation rescues 4 minors, arrests 2 suspects of online sexual exploitation of children


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.⠀


JM Philippines show their tenacity and determination to combat OSEC (online sexual exploitation of children) is unstoppable.
Thanks to IJM and partners, a successful sting operation led to 4 children, aged 2 to 8 years old, rescued from online sexual exploitation.

: July 22, 2020- BACOOR, PHILIPPINES — On Monday at 12noon, Philippine law enforcers conducted a sting operation where they arrested two live-in partners at their residence in Bacoor Cavite for offering to livestream the sexual abuse of four children – 3 females and 1 male, with ages 2 to 8 years old – in exchange for money. This operation was a joint effort carried out by the National Bureau of Investigation – Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), led by Atty. Janet Francisco under the supervision of NBI Deputy Director Vincente De Guzman and the Philippine National Police - Women and Children Protection Center - Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (PNP WCPC-ATIPD) led by PCOL Maria Sheila T. Portento under the overall supervision of PBGEN Alessandro Abella; with the support of the Bacoor City Police Station (CPS), Australian Federal Police, United Kingdom National Crime Agency and International Justice Mission.

The suspects are both 27 years old at the time of the arrest and living in together with the 4 children. Two of the rescued minors are the children of the male suspect while the other two are the female suspect’s niece and nephew. They will both be charged for violations of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364 (Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012), in relation to RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) and RA 9775 (Anti Child Pornography Act), and RA 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Act) as amended by RA 9231 (Anti-Child Labor Act).

Social workers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 4A were involved in the operation and have brought the victims to a shelter where they are receiving trauma-informed interventions.

“This operation continues to show NBI's resolve against the heinous crime of OSEC. We remain vigilant and committed to protecting children in the Philippines from being exploited online. I am thankful that because of the hard work of NBI-AHTRAD and PNP-WCPC, along with all of our partners, these children are much safer today." - NBI Dep. Director De Guzman said.

“I would like to congratulate our dedicated police officers who have braved the pandemic in order to rescue these four children from the two suspects. These children were left under the suspects’ care, expecting to be loved but instead they were exploited online. I am thankful that with this rescue, this form of abuse will no longer happen to them,” said WCPC Chief Alessandro Abella, referring to the arrangement that the rescued children had to endure.

This joint rescue operation shows that we are fully committed in stopping OSEC in its tracks. We will do everything we can to carry out our sworn duty to bring criminals to justice wherever they are and whatever the circumstance may be,” said Atty. Janet Francisco, Chief of the NBI-AHTRAD.

“I cannot express my relief enough that this rescue has become a reality through the efforts of the dedicated men and women of the Philippine National Police, we have achieved another win in the fight against traffickers that prey on the most vulnerable who cannot protect themselves from online abuse ” said WCPC-ATIPD Chief PCOL. Sheila T. Portento.

The investigation originated from an Australian Federal Police referral to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC). This referral launched the joint investigation by the PNP WCPC-ATIPD and the NBI-AHTRAD which led to yesterday’s operation.

A model for an enhanced global response against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC), the PICACC is a cooperation among local and international law enforcement, namely the PNP-WCPC, the NBI-AHTRAD, the Australian Federal Police, and the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UK NCA); in partnership with non-government organization, IJM. Since its commencement in February 2019, the PICACC has conducted 53 operations resulted in the rescue of 181 victims and arrest of 51 OSEC suspects.

Acting Senior Officer Rachel Ball from the Australian Federal Police in Manila said, “This investigation reinforces that collaboration between Philippine and Foreign Law Enforcement agencies through the PICACC continues unabated. The Australian Federal Police through our international command in Manila remain committed to supporting investigations of OSEC throughout the Philippines.”

“Joint operations like this continue to demonstrate how Philippines law enforcement agencies continue to work together with their international partners in this challenging time. NCA will continue to support all our partners here and remain committed to the fight against the online abuse of children through the PICACC and our partnerships in the Philippines,” said David Cater, UK NCA Regional Manager – Asia/Pacific.

A key recommendation from IJM’s recently released OSEC Study was to “maintain and build on the improved relationships and communication practices with international law enforcement agencies to better hold perpetrators accountable and decrease criminal impunity globally.”

“OSEC is a crime that knows no borders but the international community is stepping up to address this global menace. Through close collaboration with foreign law enforcement agencies, our law enforcers have rescued four more children from the horrors of this crime, who can now begin their journey towards healing. Everyday more child abusers are being placed in jail who will no longer be able to exploit the most vulnerable for profit.”said Atty. Rey Bicol, Manila Field Office Director, IJM Philippines.

OSEC is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million pesos. Typical OSEC offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012), RA 9775 (Anti‐Child Pornography Act of 2009) and RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law).

One may report a suspected case of OSEC by texting ENDOSEC (space) (incident details) to 7444-64 for Smart network subscribers; or by calling the IACAT 1343 Action line; or directly connecting with WCPC at (032) 410-8483 for Visayas, and 0917-180-6037 or 0928-604-6425 for Mindanao.

For online reporting one can send an email to [email protected] or you may call the NBI Trunkline at 02 85238231or the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division – 02 85219208 (direct line) or 02 85238231 (local 3497) to report cases of OSEC.

Note to Editors:

The Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Luxembourg Guidelines, prescribes the use of the term “child sexual abuse material” or “child sexual exploitation material” instead of “child pornography”, except when referencing the name of statute. Sexualized material that depicts or otherwise represents children is a representation, and a form, of child sexual abuse and should not be described as “pornography.”

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