THE Department of Justice (DOJ) in Dumaguete City has been building up one case of online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) that occurred in Jimalalud last year amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

This was reported by Prosecutor Emylou Bendanillo of the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in a meeting of the Provincial Committee on Anti-Trafficking-Violence Against Women and Their Children (PCAT-VAWC) where member-agencies shared their undertakings against trafficking in person (TIP).

Bendanillo said that initial investigation found out that the alleged trafficker received P10,000 per digital show session from the clients, but paid the child victim only P100.

Bendanillo said Osec cases increased by 226 percent as the country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prosecutor also reported that two minors aged 15 and 17 from Bindoy and Bacong towns, respectively, were recruited and brought to Manila to work as househelpers.

The case against the alleged trafficker is now filed in court.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also reported two cases of minors aged 14 and 19 from Amlan town and Siquijor who were trafficked to work in Dumaguete City and Manila, respectively.

The case is now handled by the National Bureau of Investigation.

Labor Officer Sandra Delfin of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said her office also received complaints from three minors being verbally and physically abused, deprived of food, and receiving low salary from their employers.

Delfin said DOLE has taken interventions on the reported cases and sent the minors to their respective homes, while providing one victim a livelihood project.

Traffickers reportedly lure children, especially those from disadvantaged or poor families, with the promise of opportunity amid the pandemic.

With this, Bendanillo called on partner agencies to intensify their protective services and proposed to hold an investigative or forensic interview training to ensure that children are safe from any abuse and exploitation. (PIA)