A SINGLE GIFT
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Aaron* was just two years old when he was rescued from an unthinkable crime in Cebu, Philippines.
Lucille, Director of IJM Cebu, Philippines reports:
“Aaron’s case was one of the most graphic I’d ever seen. The perpetrator wore a mask while abusing children.”
“On the day of the rescue, our team was on standby while Aaron’s house was stormed by police. I remember getting the call at almost midnight. They said ‘We’ve got Aaron. We’ve arrested his father Darek. We found the mask’ “
Aaron’s father sexually abused and exploited him for a live online audience to make money. The very person that was meant to protect Aaron was the one profiting from his abuse.
Darek*, Aaron’s father, was a German national living in the Philippines since 2018. Reports show that Darek had conversations with other child sex offenders as early as 2015. Some of those conversations include the idea of having children by surrogate mothers so that he could raise them and sexually abuse them.
After many months and a global effort between Australian Federal Police, global authorities, and local police, Aaron was rescued.
After the rescue, Aaron was brought to an Assessment Centre, where he was provided with trauma-informed services including therapeutic interventions.
Lucille described Aaron as tiny and fragile – longing to be held and cared for. She shared:
“He still had many nightmares for months after he was rescued. He would often cry out ‘momo’ (monster). Little by little, with therapy, I’ve seen him come alive again. His joy and laughter has finally been restored.”
Aaron was placed in the care of loving foster parents – a place where he can freely be a child again.
Aaron is now five years old. He enjoys playing with cars and superheroes, especially his favourite: Captain America! He’s excited about going to school.
Tragically, Aaron’s story isn’t unique. The rise of online sexual exploitation of children is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world.
It takes many people to make a rescue happen. Your support gathers evidence, launches investigations, coordinates rescue operations, and arrests perpetrators.
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