Four kids rescued as police nab Iligan ‘online trafficker’
ILIGAN CITY -- Law enforcers arrested Thursday a suspected online trafficker after she offered to sexually abuse her eight-year-old daughter and stream it live for a client on the Internet in exchange for money.
Operatives of the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center – Mindanao Field Unit (WCPC-MFU) carried out the entrapment operation at the suspect’s residence in Iligan City at about 10 a.m.
Aside from her daughter, police and social workers also rescued the suspect’s three-year-old niece who was shown in sexually explicit materials that the suspect transmitted to her online customers.
Authorities also removed the suspect’s fourmonth baby from her custody, as well as an 11-yearold girl whose relationship to the suspect was not immediately known. All four children are now in the custody of the Iligan City Social Welfare and Development Office, where they are receiving much needed trauma-informed interventions. The 28-year old suspect was placed under surveillance since March this year after the police learned that she was engaged in selling pornographic materials that involved children.
At the suspect’s residence, police found receipts from money transfers made by a foreign contact. The suspect later disclosed to the police that she had transmitted sexually explicit materials involving children in exchange for money from a foreign predator.
“The Philippines has maintained its Tier 1 status in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report this year as a result of collaborative efforts exerted by WCPC, other law enforcement agencies, NGOs (non-government organizations), LGUs (local government units) and other private individuals to end human trafficking. The recent accomplishment of WCPC-MFU is a result of our extensive collaboration with partner agencies and the recently concluded training that capacitated
and equipped PNP’s online investigators. We will not stop working to end human trafficking,” said Col. Christine Tan, chief of WCPC-MFU.
Tan was referring to the Prosecuting Online Sexual Exploitation Training organized by the International Justice Mission (IJM), US Department of Justice’s Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, and the Philippines’ DOJ InterAgency Council Against Trafficking held in Davao last week.
Supporting the operations were the Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking – 10 (Northern Mindanao), Iligan City Police Office (through the Special Weapons and Tactics and the Iligan City Police Station 4’s Women and Children Protection Desk), Iligan City Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the IJM.
Online sexual exploitation is prohibited under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of PHP2 million to PHP5 million.
Typical online sexual exploitation offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and RA 9775 (Anti‐ Child Pornography Act of 2009). Both have penalties equivalent to 20 years to 40 years imprisonment.