VIC­TIMS RES­CUED

New Straits Times - - World -

that led to the ar­rests of the mother and two other women on May 5. They were al­legedly mak­ing the girls en­gage in sex­u­ally ex­plicit acts while men in Aus­tralia and the US watched. The women have been charged with hu­man traf­fick­ing, child abuse, child pornog­ra­phy and cy­ber­crime.

Po­lice of­fi­cer Ar­lyn Tor­ren­don said she was part of a team that res­cued three of the chil­dren and ar­rested the three women, in­clud­ing the mother of the sib­lings, yes­ter­day in a house in Ba­colod city on an is­land 717km south of here.

“The chil­dren were in­no­cent. They were not even aware that they were be­ing used in a crime.”

She said the chil­dren came from an im­pov­er­ished fam­ily and their mother was a widow.

Gen­eral Li­bo­rio Carab­ba­can at the Na­tional Po­lice Women and Chil­dren Pro­tec­tion Cen­tre said the in­ci­dents were in­creas­ing in the Philip­pines be­cause many peo­ple were gain­ing ac­cess to the In­ter­net and English flu­ency was com­mon, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to evenly-cooked.

And, given Thai­land’s swel­ter­ing trop­i­cal cli­mate, the sun is a free, clean and to­tally sus­tain­able en­ergy source.

“At the time, en­ergy such as petrol and gas was be­com­ing more ex­pen­sive and sup­pli­ers com­mu­ni­cate with would-be cus­tomers. Also, he said, par­ents and rel­a­tives, mo­ti­vated by greed, were of­ten not even aware that it is against the law to ex­ploit their chil­dren.

The livestream abuse hap­pens in many of Philip­pines’ densely pop­u­lated, im­pov­er­ished neigh­bour­hoods, said at­tor­ney Gideon Cau­ton, who works with the non­profit In­ter­na­tional Jus­tice Mission.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides so­cial work­ers, shel­ters, lawyers and even for­mer US po­lice de­tec­tives to lo­cal law en­force­ment, who don’t have enough re­sources to tackle all cases of on­line sex­ual ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren.

In the city, where gleam­ing con­do­minium high-rises and stores sell­ing de­signer clothes and cars stand in stark con­trast to the squalor of the slums, Cau­ton pointed to Wi-Fi an­ten­nas ris­ing from rooftops above a long stretch of shanties and run­down houses.

In the past, the an­ten­nas amid crush­ing poverty were red flags, spark­ing sus­pi­cion of cy­ber­sex were run­ning out of wood to sell.

“I thought if I used so­lar en­ergy, I could save a lot.

“And, it also de­creases pol­lu­tion.”

Sila and his wife, Pan­sri, cook around 40 chick­ens, as well as sev­eral sides of pork, each day. crimes. To­day, pocket Wi-Fi, mo­bile phone In­ter­net and other tech­nol­ogy have ren­dered those ir­rel­e­vant, driv­ing the crime even fur­ther be­hind the scenes.

“This type of crime is re­ally hid­den,” he said. “Usu­ally the fam­ily and com­mu­nity, they are com­plicit. These are tight-knit com­mu­ni­ties, very dense ar­eas.”

In the US, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of crimes, along with new manda­tory re­port­ing, led to 8.2 mil­lion re­ports last year to the Na­tional Cen­tre for Miss­ing and Ex­ploited Chil­dren’s Cy­berTi­pline re­lated to on­line child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

That com­pares with 8.3 mil­lion re­ports in the 17 years prior.

One of those re­ports led au­thor­i­ties in the US to Karl Touset, 72, of Ma­ri­etta, Ge­or­gia, who was sen­tenced to prison for 10 years in March af­ter Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions agents found ev­i­dence on his com­put­ers that he had paid fa­cil­i­ta­tors in the Philip­pines more than US$55,000 (RM238,840) over three years for im­ages of girls be­ing sex­u­ally ex­ploited. AP

“We’ve been eat­ing here for a long time,” said reg­u­lar pa­tron Than­yarat Kaew­paleuk, who was tuck­ing into lunch with her hus­band.

“It’s de­li­cious. His chicken is not burned and doesn’t smell like a char­coal grill.” AFP

AFP PIC

Food ven­dor Sila Sutharat cook­ing chicken with rays of sun re­flected on an over­sized mir­ror panel in Petch­aburi prov­ince, south of Bangkok, re­cently.

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