Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Greed, materialism ‘roots’ of web trafficking

THE woman who was arrested in Cordova for cyber pornography ran two businesses and owned several appliances.

According to the International Justice Mission (IJM), most suspects of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) have this in common.

The Women and Children’s Protection Center (WCPC)-Visayas Field Unit in coordination with IJM and other government agencies arrested Lisa (not her real name, a 38-year-old mother, for operating a cybersex den in Barangay Ibabao, Cordova last Tuesday morning.

Of the seven females and children rescued, IJM said that three, including Lisa’s 17-year-old sister, suffer from a mental disability.

“Another rescued victim disclosed that her mother--the suspect--sexually exploited her online when the girl was only 13 years old,” a part of IJM’s press release read.

The four other children were assessed to determine if they were also sexually exploited online. They include three boys age eight, seven and two and the suspect’s two-year-old daughter.

The children are under the custody of Department of Social Welfare and Development 7.

According to IJM, Lisa, who is also a seamstress, ran a sari-sari store and made and sold dresses. Her live-in partner is a fisherman.

Authorities found in the suspect’s house and store three TVs, two refrigerators, a washing machine, three sewing machines, three large entertainment speakers, a new Honda motorcycle, two DVD players, a karaoke player, a desktop computer, expensive sneakers and several smartphones and tablets.

John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director, said that those who sexually exploit children online mistakenly believe that the police can’t find them.

“Actually, WCPC and other law enforcement in coordination with their foreign counterparts are intensifying efforts to track down and arrest all who sexually exploit children online. It’s a very risky crime to engage in,” said Tanagho.

Ibabao Barangay Captain Chito Bentazal said that Lisa’s arrest was a blessing because most families engage in OSEC do it to fund their vices like gambling and illegal drugs drugs.

“Cybersex trafficking or online sexual exploitation of children is not about poverty; it is about greed and materialism,” Bentazal said.

Supt. Marial Sheila Portento, officer-in-charge of WCPC Operations Management Division, said that they will fight against child exploitation together with their partners.

Meanwhile, Lisa was charged with violations of Republic Act (RA) 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) as amended by RA 10364 (Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012), RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) in relation to RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009) and RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) after she opted not to undergo preliminary investigation.

Lisa was not granted bail.

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