4 Persons Convicted for Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

8 March 2023

LUZON, PHILIPPINES – In a landmark month for the fight against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC), four persons were convicted in January 2023, including two female traffickers who were sentenced to life imprisonment.

A court in Pateros, Manila, and another in Bacoor City, Cavite, handed down the verdicts in different cases, which stemmed from two rescue operations, in 2019 and 2021.

On 23 January 2023, the Pateros Regional Trial Court sentenced two persons to 15 years and six months in prison after they pleaded guilty to attempted trafficking in persons and attempt to cause a child physical harm. Each of them was ordered to pay a total fine of PHP 600,000 ($16,000 AUD) and to undergo psychological counselling or psychiatric treatment, as required by the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act. On the outcome of this case, Raena Asistores, IJM Prosecution Development Lead Lawyer, said:

“I am quite happy about the outcome of this case. I’m grateful that the perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions and that the children will no longer suffer from their abusers. They can now begin their journey towards healing and restoration knowing that justice has been served.”

She also noted that the mandatory psychological counselling or psychiatric treatment showed the progressive nature of the Philippine justice system in caring for the mental well-being of individuals who have been convicted of crimes under the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act. She said:

“We believe that the implementation of the judge of the requirement of psychological counselling or psychiatric treatment is another measure that would be very instrumental in the healing of all parties. Through this, the perpetrators may truly understand the effects of their offense, and be rehabilitated and restored. I am hopeful that their risk of becoming repeat offenders is lowered.”

Authorities arrested the two convicted perpetrators during a rescue operation in Pateros in March 2021. This operation also resulted in the rescue of two female minors who were the biological daughters of one of the suspects.

On 25 January 2023, the Bacoor City Regional Trial Court Branch found a mother and her adult daughter guilty of qualified trafficking and sentenced each of them to life imprisonment. The court also ordered each of them to pay PHP 2 million ($55,000 AUD) in fines and PHP 600,000 ($16,000 AUD) in damages to one complainant.

Both traffickers also received a sentence ranging from 20-40 years for violating the Anti-Child Pornography Act. For this conviction, the court ordered each to pay PHP 2 million ($55,000 AUD) in fines and PHP 600,000 ($16,000 AUD) in damages.

The traffickers were arrested in November 2019 during a rescue operation against OSEC.

Thanks to you, IJM has supported Philippine authorities in the conviction of more than 170 people for offenses related to OSEC. IJM has also supported more than 300 operations, leading to the rescue of over 1,000 victims.

Note to Editors:

  1. Under Philippine laws, the name and personal circumstances of the trafficked person or any other information tending to establish the identity of the trafficked person and his or her family shall not be disclosed to the public.
  2. The Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Luxembourg Guidelines, prescribes the use of the term “child sexual abuse material” or “child sexual exploitation material” instead of “child pornography”. Sexualized material that depicts or otherwise rep-resents children is a representation, and a form, of child sexual abuse and should not be described as “por-nography.”

You might also be interested in…