Prosecutor: Life term for child porn hirer

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Saturday, January 25, 2014


HIRING a minor for child pornography is punishable with life imprisonment and is non-bailable, the city prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro said Friday.

“Child pornography will fall under Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act (RA 9208),” said city prosecutor Fidel Macauyag.

He added that child pornography requires someone to hire a minor for posing and doing the deed.

Macauyag said the use of a trafficked person, or a trafficked minor in the country, could land a perpetrator in jail six to 12 years if proven guilty.

Macauyag said the local courts made convictions on child trafficking last year.

“An American national last year was convicted of trafficking. He also had sex with a minor in a hotel in Cagayan de Oro,” said Macauyag.

He said the victim was only fourteen years old. READ:Child pornography cases in Oro ‘very strong’

He added a Singaporean was also detained for violating RA 9208.

“All in all, four cases were filed to suspects for different violations under the RA 9208 (last year),” said Macauyag.

Meanwhile, Rhodora Bulosan, the regional coordinator of women’s group Gabriela, said if the government is serious in implementing the law this could have been stopped a long time ago.

“This problem should not be addressed by nongovernment organizations alone. The government should do more and collaborate with civil societies to stop child pornography vis-à-vis human trafficking,” said Bulosan.

Pimps liable, too

Macauyag said pimps could be charged with human trafficking, adding that if minors were trafficked through a pimp, it has aggravating circumstances that could make the case worse.

“Even online (cybersex), it could fall as a violation of RA 9208,” said Macauyag.

Bulosan added that pimps are hard to apprehend.

She said witnesses would not dare to speak against pimps because the victims thought they were employed, and that prostitution is their job.

Apart from that, Bulosan added that the lack of psychosocial and legal support would make the victims apprehensive to pursue a case.

“We have tried filing a case before but it did not prosper because the victim or the witness would not testify,” said Bulosan.

Macauyag said nightclubs in the city which uses minors for entertainment could also be charged with RA 9208.

Macauyag said if pornography is done by a person in private then it could not be charged against RA 9208.

He added that to fall under RA 9208, ‘hiring’ must be involved in the process.

He said no one can prevent a person from getting naked online to earn money that is why doing it privately, and inside their residence, does not fall under the law.

“If you hired them for prostitution or for pornography then that is human trafficking,” said Macauyag.

Long-term programs

Other than apprehending individuals involved in human trafficking, Bulosan added the government should have long-term programs to address its root cause.

She added that the vagrants and some of the prostitutes in Divisoria came from hinterland communities that were displaced due to land grabbing and militarization.

“If they have a job that could support their basic needs then they would not venture into prostitution,” said Bulosan.

Bulosan said the present programs of the government are all temporary.

“The government should have long-term assistance and employment programs,” added Bulosan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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