Following a tip-off from Australian police, operatives from the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center – Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) searched the online trafficker’s home in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City at noon on Wednesday 10 July. They found child sex abuse materials stored on his electronic devices.
His 2-year-old son, who is shown in some of the sexually explicit images, is now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The online trafficker’s arrest came two weeks after police rescued two Filipino children, young siblings ages 6 and 7, who were victims of Darek (not his real name). While the suspect’s identity is not confidential, disclosing his real name will lead to the identification of his son, who is a victim.
The WCPC-VFU rescued the two children on 24 June in Talisay City. On 8 July, Judge Ramon Daomilas of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court 11 granted WCPC-VFU warrants to search the suspect’s electronic devices and home in Lapu-Lapu City for evidence of cybersex trafficking.
All the children are in the care of the DSWD and are receiving trauma-informed interventions.
Queensland Police Service found out sometime in 2017 that Darek, believed to be a computer engineer, had been producing sexually explicit images of Filipino children. They then coordinated with the German police, WCPC and the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC).
The PICACC serves as a hub for domestic Philippine and foreign law enforcement collaborative efforts to combat cybersex trafficking, also known as the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). The PICACC is a joint initiative between the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police supported by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), United Kingdom National Crime Agency and non-government organisation International Justice Mission (IJM).
“Today's arrest of a German national shows the global nature of the crime of online sexual exploitation of children,” said Col. Romeo Perigo, chief of WCPC-VFU. “We are fully committed to arresting not only the local online traffickers, but also foreigners residing in the Philippines who are exploiting our children online. May today's arrest serve as a warning not only for foreign perpetrators living in our country, but for all online predators around the world. This crime does not pay. You will be arrested ... it's just a matter of time.”
Regional Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane also took part in the implementation of the search warrant, representing the Department of Justice’s Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) 7.
Also supporting Wednesday’s operation were the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group – Crame, Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office 7, Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Immigration – Cebu District, and IJM.
Occurring in different communities in the Philippines, cybersex trafficking is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of two (2) million to five (5) million pesos (A$56,000 to A$140,000). Typical cybersex trafficking offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012), RA 9775 (Anti‐Child Pornography Act of 2009) and RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law). Each of these violations have penalties equivalent to 12 to 40 years imprisonment.
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INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems.
For more information, visit IJM.org.au.
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.Find out more
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