A 33-YEAR-OLD woman and a 23-year-old woman were each sentenced to over four years in prison after pleading guilty to accessing child sexual exploitation materials under plea bargaining agreements. They are still facing other charges for qualified trafficking in persons in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Talisay City.
In a decision rendered on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, Cebu City RTC Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr. handed down sentences to the two accused after they pleaded guilty to charges under Republic Act 9775, or the Anti-Child Pornography Act. Both suspects remain in custody as they are on trial for other charges, including for trafficking children for the purpose of online sexual exploitation. After a full trial, if they are convicted, they will face life sentences.
Both cases stemmed from successful investigations and operations of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (Racu) 7.
On Oct. 27, 2017, the 23-year-old offender was arrested in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City by Racu 7. During the operation, two girls, one 17-year old and an adult, were rescued. The young girls were sisters of the accused.
On June 15, 2018, the 33-year-old offender was arrested in Barangay Cansojong, also in Talisay City. During that operation, eight minors—ranging in age from three to 17 years—were rescued and turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for assessment and rehabilitation as well.
“Whenever the justice system holds accountable people who sexually abuse and exploit children, it actually prevents the abuse of other children by restraining those offenders and deterring other criminals. When the laws are enforced, the abuse of vulnerable children is dramatically reduced as impunity is replaced with accountability,” said International Justice Mission Cebu Field Office director John Tanagho.
On March 16 and 17, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and IJM will hold a conference in Manila called Global Resolve Against Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (Osec).
This conference aims to strengthen the global community’s response to Osec, the most urgent form of child sexual exploitation. It will assemble key stakeholders from around the world to learn about the online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) and the Philippine government’s response to the crime.
The conference also presents participants the opportunity to network with others from across a wide range of sectors (government, law enforcement, nongovernment organizations, corporations etc.) that are also engaged in fighting Osec.
So far in IJM-supported cases, more than 80 persons have been convicted in the Philippines for Osec since 2011.
IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in operations that led to the arrest of more than 200 Osec perpetrators and the rescue of almost 600 victims and children-at-risk across the country. (PR)