Early in the morning, officers from the Philippine National Police mobilised on one of the country’s southernmost islands. During the investigation, police had confirmed the suspect’s illegal activities, trafficking children to sexually abuse them in front of a camera. Foreign customers, located across the world, could anonymously wire a payment in order to watch and even direct the live abuse.
Surveillance had uncovered illicit photos of a young girl online, shared by the suspect, and authorities were looking for her. As the morning unfolded, the suspect offered to livestream exploitation of her own 9-year-old daughter. As police moved to arrest the woman, social workers from IJM and the Department of Social Welfare and Development brought the two young girls to safety. Authorities also rescued the suspect’s three sons, who were 2, 3 and 10 years old. All five children were taken to an aftercare facility.
During the operation, police collected the suspect’s smart phone, which they believe was used to record and stream the abuse. In cases of cybersex trafficking, like this one, Filipino traffickers prey on children in their vicinity whom they can exploit online for paedophiles and predators around the world. Many of the children are young. In cases that IJM has supported in the Philippines since 2011, about half of the rescued victims are 12 years old or younger.
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