Sunday, September 26, 2021

Law enforcers, prosecutors trained to become global experts

Contributed photo

SEVENTY-TWO public prosecutors and law enforcers sharpened their skills to combat online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) through the fourth iteration of “Prosecuting Online Sexual Exploitation Training” (Pose 4) held in Quest Plus Conference Center in Clark, Pampanga.

Pose 4 was designed to meet a three-point objective: 1) to learn the fundamentals of online sexual exploitation of children (Osec); 2) to develop the skills in handling digital evidence; and 3) to exercise the core skills through practice modules.

Pose 4 included the participation of cybercrime court judges for the first time, providing a venue for more realistic skills-application in a mock trial.

Pose was designed to equip Osec caseworkers and front-liners to protect children and build strong cases. Nearly every participant in Pose has an active Osec case load or anticipates imminent casework. Pose organizers are committed to deliver a training responsive to casework needs.

Don Calvert, resident legal advisor of the US DOJ in Manila, said in his opening remarks, “This is a nuts-to bolt training effort... We’re very mindful as an agency that cybercrime is something that we need to improve, not just in the Philippines but worldwide.”

Participants learned about the foundational concepts of Osec, the collection and preservation of digital evidence, the use of digital evidence to provide the elements of an Osec crime, and the presentation of digital experts and how to parry defense strategies. A practical exercise of a mock Osec case -- from build-up to trial -- allowed the participants to apply what they have learned from the training. During the final plenary session, the judges from the mock trials all decided to grant convictions for the mock case. The organizers are optimistic that the training will bear fruit in real courts when litigating real Osec cases.

In his closing remarks, DOJ-Iacat Assistant Secretary George Ortha said, "Everything is really for the children. In this Pose training, it is my hope that we could shift and change our mindset from the traditional conviction treatment to one that is victim-centered."

To conclude the event, Atty. John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director, left these words: “The reality is Osec live streaming is happening in other parts of the world, and I believe that the men and women in this room will not only help to crush Osec in the Philippines, especially live streaming, but in the coming years, you will become the global experts on how to prosecute live streaming cases around the world.”

Faculty for Pose 4 included members of the US Department of Justice Criminal Division-Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (US DOJ CEOS), the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (US DOJ Opdat), the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG), the Philippine Department of Justice (PH DOJ), International Justice Mission (IJM), and cybercrime court judges from the Philippine judiciary.

Participants have expressed interest in having similar trainings for their colleagues in their respective jurisdictions. (PR)


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