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MEDIA RELEASE: Three traffickers arrested for cybersex trafficking, 15 minors across the Philippines rescued

arrest, Australian Federal Police, cybersex trafficking, rescue, the Philippines

Written by IJM
Posted on 20 February 2019 under Media Releases, Sex trafficking.

PHILIPPINES: Three Filipino traffickers were finally stopped from sexually exploiting children online, on Saturday afternoon.

1:30 PM in Taguig−Two suspects, male and female, were arrested in their Taguig home for offering to sexually exploit children online to customers abroad in exchange for money. Their names are withheld due to their relationship with some of the victims. Five girls were being offered and were rescued. In addition, a 1-year-old was found at the scene and was also removed.

After the operation, an immediate canvassing of the neighbourhood took place looking for additional victims that were offered but not at the scene. Three more children – two girls and one boy – were found and rescued.

The ages of the children offered range from 10-17.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with U.S. Homeland Security (HSI) that created the Transnational Criminal Investigative Task Force (TCITF). HSI sent a referral to PNP-TCITF notifying them of a cybersex trafficking suspect in the Philippines offering children online in exchange for money. After further investigations, authorities were able to identify three suspects and the home where the crime was occurring. Taguig City Police, Taguig City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), and International Justice Mission (IJM) also supported this operation.

The suspect arrested in the Cebu City operation. Please credit International Justice Mission.

5:00 PM in Cebu City– Authorities arrested a 33-year-old suspected online trafficker during an entrapment operation after he offered two underage boys for commercial sexual exploitation.

Members of the Women and Children Protection Center – Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) of the PNP caught the suspect, identified as Joey Michael Donozo, in the act of offering the minors, ages 9 and 14, for sexual abuse by a foreigner.

The operation took place at a fast food restaurant in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City around 5 p.m. today. Police and social workers rescued the two minors.

Donozo also previously transmitted online sexually explicit images involving one of the boys in exchange for money from online predators.

Following the entrapment operation, authorities searched the neighbourhood looking for four more boys who were previously offered for in-person and online sexual exploitation. All four boys−ages 12, 13, 13, and 14− were found and rescued.

The arrest and rescue operation were a result of a case referral from the Australian Federal Police to the PNP. According to the referral, the suspect had been arranging for foreigners to meet underage boys in person for sexually explicit acts. He had also filmed underage boys in sexually explicit acts and had himself sexually abused the victims.

“Young vulnerable Filipino boys were sexually exploited online and through in-person abuse just so a pimp could earn easy money selling the body and dignity of precious children. Praise God for the WCPC police unit that continues to courageously rescue children from the clutches of sexual depravity and send the arrested abusers and traffickers to jail to await justice for their crimes,” said IJM Field Office Director, Atty. John Tanagho.

The WCPC-VFU operation was supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking 7, the Cebu City Police Office’s Special Weapons and Tactics and Women and Children Protection Desk, and International Justice Mission.

The suspect arrested in the Cebu City operation. Please credit International Justice Mission.

“To those who are engaging in online sexual exploitation of children, you should stop your illegal activity now because the WCPC Visayas Field Unit will catch and bring you to the court of law,” Senior Supt. Perigo had warned after a previous operation.

The children from both operations are now in care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and are receiving proper trauma-informed interventions.

Cybersex trafficking, also known as online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC), is a serious threat to children and is a devastating form of modern-day slavery. Nearly 50 percent of victims are 12 years old or younger. Occurring in communities all over the Philippines, cybersex trafficking is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 9308 (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. Typical cybersex trafficking 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 to 40 years imprisonment.

IJM Manila Field Office Director, Atty. Rey Bicol, stated, “With thanks to the diligence and collaboration of authorities local and abroad, three more traffickers are stopped from committing this heinous crime, and 15 more children are rescued and beginning the healing and restoration process. Our country is known as the global epicenter for this crime. May we make up to this reality. Our children deserve to live in a trustworthy society.”

As of January 2019, IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in the arrest of 183 cybersex trafficking perpetrators and in the rescue of 429 victims around the country since 2011.

***

Download this media release as a PDF.

Learn more about cybersex trafficking here.

For media enquiries, contact:

Caroly Houmes
choumes@ijm.org.au
0452 033 414

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.

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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.

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