A girl from Cebu City is facing criminal charges for allegedly trafficking three minor girls to foreigners online in exchange for money.
The police’s Women and Children Protection Center–Visayas field unit charged the 17-year-old suspected human trafficker with violation of Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act in relation to Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The arresting team, led by Senior Supt. Romeo Perigo, carried out the entrapment inside the suspect’s house in Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City yesterday afternoon.
The police’s surveillance in 2017 showed the suspected trafficker sent sexually explicit materials of herself and three other minor girls to tourists abroad.
Investigation showed the suspect was in contact with an American national who was later arrested in the United States.
The suspected online trafficker offered to sexually abuse the three minor girls and send the pornographic materials to foreigners in exchange for money.
The suspect’s parents are both in jail because of drug charges.
Lawyer Lucille Dejito, director of legal interventions of International Justice Mission-Cebu, said that transmitting any form of child pornography is equally illegal as creating and producing it.
“Once an image has been transmitted online, it can be redistributed anywhere in the world multiple times, thereby perpetuating the repeated exploitation of children even by the mere act of distributing child pornography,” said Dejito.
“It is unfortunate that a brutal crime such as online sexual exploitation of children can also be perpetrated by minors against other children. If determined to be acting with discernment, the suspect will have to face accountability and go through the proper interventions under the law, otherwise, she will continue to exploit children with impunity,” Dejito said.
Supt. Perigo warned those engaging in online sexual exploitation of children that their days are numbered.
“You should stop your illegal activity now because we will catch and bring you to the court of law,” said Perigo.
The anti-human trafficking operation was carried out together with the Cebu City Police Office’s Women and Children Protection Desk and Special Weapons and Tactics team, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking 7, Department of Social Welfare and Development 7, and IJM.
Since 2011, IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in the arrest of more than 100 suspects of online sexual exploitation of children and the rescue of 310 victims around the country. (GMD)