Child, 2, rescued in Lapu-Lapu
The Women and Children’s Protection Center (WCPC) of the LapuLapu City Police Office has rescued Thursday a two-year-old girl, allegedly a victim of human trafficking.
The operation was in collaboration with the InterAgency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT)-7, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)7, and the International Justice Mission (IJM).
IJM alleged that the victim was offered by her own mother to be sexually abused.
“More than once, the suspect allegedly offered to sexually abuse the toddler in live-stream videos for paying ‘customers’ overseas,” IJM said.
The mother allegedly demanded P6,000 to P15,000 from the foreigners as fee.
The WCPC received a report that the suspect, whose name is being withheld by The FREEMAN due to her relation to the victim, was allegedly engaged in online sexual exploitation of children. This led to the agency conducting surveillance on her.
After confirmation, the operation was conducted Thursday late afternoon in Barangay Canjulao, LapuLapu City. The child as well as another victim whose age is yet to be determined is now under the custody of DSWD-7.
IJM alleged that the second victim told the police that the suspect forced her to strip naked and her photos were sent to foreigners online.
The suspect was able to escape arrest.
Lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director, said poverty was not the reason behind the act of the suspect.
“Imagine, a mother offering to sexually abuse her two-year-old daughter and even in live-stream .... We can’t blame this all on poverty—millions of Filipinos work hard to provide for their families through honest and dignified means, even if they live simply. Online sexual exploitation of children is about individuals with distorted moral values who are willing to mistreat and sexually abuse children to make money, without regard for the God-given dignity and innocence of children,” he said in a press statement.
Complaints for violations of Republic Act (RA) 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act), RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act) in relation to RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) will be filed against the suspect.
Meanwhile, still in LapuLapu City, a two-year-old boy was also rescued by the police after he was allegedly beaten up by his 24-year-old stepfather and his mother.
A concerned citizen brought the boy to the police after seeing him being maltreated.
Police Officer 1 Brilyn Zuzumbrado of WCPD Mactan said it was actually not the first time that the child was physically hurt by his parents when they fight.
The stepfather of the child was apprehended by the police during their follow-up operation.
The mother of the child is at-large.