Mindanao Times

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.

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