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Saturday, August 2, 2014


WHAT’S with minors getting sexually abused or getting trafficked? There were the 15 girls who were “rescued” in a resort in Cordova at the end of June. Last month, there was the 15-year-old who was intercepted while she and her sexagenarian companion were on their way to Bohol. Then, there was the public high school teacher who allegedly pimped four girls, including two students at the school.

All three cases have four common denominators, one of which is that they all involve foreigners as the “sexual predator.” The second is more sinister as all three incidents took place with the blessing or knowledge of someone close to the children. Third, the connection was initially made through the Internet, either via the social network site Facebook or a dating site. Finally — surprise, surprise--money.

In the case of the rescued minors, two of the accused happen to be mothers of two of the girls, while the other is a sister of one of the girls. Australian national Peter James Robinson and his 17-year-old partner were also charged. Robinson allegedly paid the minors, and not all of them were girls, between P1,000 and P3,000 to have their pictures
taken en dishabille or in compromising positions with him.

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As for the mother of the Bohol-bound girl, she insisted that nothing happened between her daughter and Japanese national Masahiro Shinoda. Their being together was altruism on Shinoda’s part and gratitude on the family’s part, the mother said. After all, he offered to pay for her schooling even after he discovered that they lied about the girl’s age.

She and Shinoda were also charged. In the third case, no one has been arrested, albeit the accusations are just as serious. So serious, in fact, that an official of the Compostela National High School only agreed to be interviewed in the guise of anonymity.

That official pointed out that women make up the majority of their teachers. So I surmised, from this revelation, that the teacher accused of pimping the girls is a woman.

The same official later said they will give the teacher “the benefit of the doubt since the latter still has to answer the allegations.”

So what‘s the difference between this teacher and the mothers and the sibling who were charged? They’re basically facing the same accusations, yet the teacher is given the “benefit of the doubt.” The Children’s Legal Bureau had urged the Department of Education to suspend the teacher until the complaint against her is resolved. So I see, the teacher is still teaching.

Here’s a recap: three mothers, a sibling and two foreigners are facing charges for allegedly violating Section 6(c) in relation to Section 4(a) of Republic Act (RA) 9208, or the Anti–Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended by RA 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons of 2010. Robinson and Shinoda were also charged with violating RA 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, while Robinson was also charged with violating RA 9775, or the Anti-Child Pornography Law.

What a mouthful for mere allegations. “Mere,” you say? Precisely, since they’re all innocent until proven guilty.

But what about the affidavits of the three rescued minors in the Cordova case? Or the evidence taken from Robinson and his partner that included a USB that allegedly contains several pictures of nude children and adults?

Well, the report doesn’t say if the nude children were the minors rescued at the resort. Hmph.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2014.

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