SEVEN minors were rescued in two separate operations yesterday afternoon, which saw the arrest of a mother and a German national.
In Barangay Sangat in San Fernando town, operatives of the Women and Children Protection Center-Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) arrested a woman at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, for allegedly selling her own daughter and other minors to online pedophiles.
Thirty minutes later, German national Ulrich Market l, 67, and alleged pimp Ryan D Guarin, 24, were caught by the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office for their alleged involvement in child trafficking.
A 12-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were rescued inside an apartelle in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City by the team under the supervision of Supt. Mark Gifter Sucalit.
The arrest came after a concerned citizen informed the police that a foreigner often brings minors inside his room.
In the operation in San Fernando, Cynthia (not her real name) was caught by the operatives of Women and Children Protection Center-Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) in an entrapment, according to a press statement issued by the International Justice Mission (IJM). The suspect appears to be in her late 30s to early 40s.
Her 15-year-old daughter, Lily (real name withheld), was rescued. As of this writing, two other victims were also rescued while authorities are still searching for other victims.
WCPC-VFU had placed Cynthia under surveillance for one month after they received information about her alleged cybersex activities from a confidential source. She allegedly sent sexually explicit photos of minors.
The suspect later offered to sexually abuse the girls and live-stream that abuse for men to watch online.
“This operation shows that Philippine law enforcement is able to track down and arrest individuals who sexually abuse children and sell “live-streams” of that abuse to pedophiles around the world in exchange for money. If the community—whether teachers, neighbors, NGO workers, anyone—would provide tips or referrals to the police of so-called ‘Cyberpornography’ in their community, then more victimized and traumatized children could be rescued sooner before enduring years of abuse,” said lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director.
Cynthia is the sixth person arrested by the police for engaging in Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) in Cebu in the past four months.
On April 23, 2018, WCPC-VFU arrested a woman and rescued three young girls during separate operations in the Municipality of Cordova and City of Talisay.
On March 22 and 23, 2018, police took into their custody three suspected traffickers and rescued five girls during back-to-back operations in Lapu-Lapu City.
On February 26, 2018, a mother was arrested in Barangay Looc, Lapu-Lapu City during an entrapment where she described graphically how she would sexually abuse her three-year-old son in exchange for money.
The suspects were charged under Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act in relation to RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Cynthia will face the same charges.
The rescued victims, now under care of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Visayas, will receive psychosocial interventions, including therapy and rehabilitation.
Rescued victims of OSEC would only be returned to the community after a comprehensive family home and risk assessment is conducted to confirm that the home is a safe place for the children and that they will no longer be sexually abused or exploited by their parents, relatives or neighbors.
As of April 2018, IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in operations leading to the arrest of 133 OSEC perpetrators and the rescue of 302 victims around the country since 2011. Over 27 accused have already been convicted for trafficking children into online sexual exploitation in the Philippines.
DSWD-Central Visayas, the Provincial Women and Children’s Protection Desk, Cebu Provincial Police Office’s Special Weapons and Tactics and IJM assisted in the operation. (KAL with PR)