Shelter for abuse victims sought

NEWLY appointed Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Gemma Vinluan called on the Cebu City local government to strengthen its programs and to provide enough shelter for abuse victims.

Vinluan, who was the former head of the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) in Camp Crame, said although her term will focus on the continued fight against illegal drugs, she would not set aside her crusade against exploitation of women and children.

“I hope that (programs for rape and abuse victims) would be strengthened here in Cebu. Why? Because in Camp Crame, we have shelters there intended for our rescued victims. Unless the case is terminated, we neither release nor just leave them alone,” she said.

This, she said, although not providing statistical data, has caused an increase in crime conviction rate of rape and abuse cases in Luzon.

“That’s why we have a high conviction rate there. We make sure that the victims could attend court hearings because they are staying in and not out,” she said.

“As of now, here in Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella has already mentioned that one of his priorities would be for the city to have a stay-in shelter for the victims,” she added.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat) 7 in a 2017 report said Central Visayas has the third highest number of human trafficking cases filed in court since 2003.

Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane, who also heads Iacat 7, said majority of the human trafficking cases were filed in courts in Cebu City (181 cases), followed by Lapu-Lapu City (62 cases) and Mandaue City (47 cases).

On the other hand, Vinluan said among the nationalities who are suspects in online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) in the country are German, Danish, Australian, British, and other European pedophiles.

“Among the common cases in the Visayas are child victims who are lured into the trade by their own parents and relatives. There are times these pedophiles come into the country just to sexually exploit our children,” she said.

Last July 10, 2019, a German national was nabbed in Lapu-Lapu City by operatives from the PNP WCPC-Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) for allegedly sexually abusing children and distributing child sexual exploitation materials on the internet.

Moreover, Vinluan said although this case is not yet prevalent in Cebu City, there is still a need to address Osec cases.

In her message during the turnover of office ceremony at the CCPO on July 11, 2019, Vinluan said she plans to put a help desk, once a week, in schools situated in areas with high cases of sexual abuse of any forms.

She also said she has invited her colleagues from the Australian Federal Police to come to Cebu and help them put an end to sexual abuses in Cebu City. (WBS)


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