MEDIA RELEASE: Anti-Slavery Advocates Applaud Child Rescue Operation in The Philippines

Wednesday, 5 July 2023

International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia has welcomed the news today that 16 online child sex abuse victims have been rescued in the Philippines – it is believed to be the most children rescued in one single operation.

The children, the youngest aged 10, were found during the execution of warrants in Northern Philippines late last month as a result of an international child protection investigation.

IJM provides legal and logistical support to the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center, as well as aftercare to survivors.

The investigation started in January 2023 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Sydney Airport examined a man’s baggage upon his return from the Philippines.

ABF officers inspected the man’s phone and allegedly found child abuse material and messages detailing his intent to pay a facilitator who would enable him to sexually abuse children in the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) were alerted and began investigating a Queensland man, aged 56.

IJM Australia CEO, Steve Baird, applauded the ABF and AFP for their work on the operation in supporting Philippine authorities to counter the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). Mr. Baird said:

“No child should be subject to abuse, but unfortunately we are seeing more and more cases emerge around the globe.

IJM is committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime, and the sad fact is that Australians are driving these businesses.

What is great to see, is Australian authorities working closely with their counterparts to protect children and hold perpetrators to account.

This is an example of how global collaboration can lead to important breakthroughs in cases of these kinds, and a reminder of the importance of working together for the benefit of the most vulnerable in our region.”

Note to Editors:

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.

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.” Sexualised material that depicts or otherwise represents children is a representation, and a form of child sexual abuse, and should not be described as “pornography.”

MEDIA:   Isabelle Colla | 0432 970 548 | 

Click here for more news on our work in the fight to end online sexual exploitation of children.

Image by the Australian Federal Police.

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