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Five Manila teens rescued from online sexual exploitation

Manila, THE PHILIPPINES – Authorities have rescued four minors and a young adult and arrested two suspects in two separate operations against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in Metro Manila. One of the operations was linked to an Australian online sex offender and conducted with assistance from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and IJM.

Mandaluyong City, 24 May

After a complaint was filed at the local police station and referred to the Anti Trafficking in Persons Division of the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), national and city police acted swiftly. They pursued and arrested one 27-year-old male suspect and rescued a 16-year-old female, a 15-year-old male and a 16-year-old male. All three teens were close acquaintances of the suspect.

Police were also able to gather 16 pieces of evidence on the scene which includes sexual paraphernalia, smartphones and other digital devices believed to have been used by the suspects against his victims.

Taguig, 26 May

Two days later, a referral from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) led national, city and municipal police to conduct a second successful operation in Bonifacio Global City. They arrested one 23-year-old male suspect and brought two male survivors, aged 17 and 19, to safety.

In this case, there was no blood relationship between the perpetrator and the rescued victims. Evidence seized during the operation were marked money, a digital gadget which could have been used to facilitate the transactions, and a money remittance receipt.

International collaboration to end OSEC

“These successful operations serve as a warning for all traffickers who livestream the sexual abuse and exploitation of children to paying offenders abroad. This crime may be profitable, but it does not pay. It is a serious offence with serious consequences, including potential lifetime imprisonment,” said PBGEN Alessandro Abella, Chief of WCPC.

Speaking about the Taguig operation, Australian Federal Police Senior Officer to the Philippines, Detective Superintendent Andrew Perkins, stated: “This operational outcome further highlights the effectiveness of the PICACC [Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center], collectively bringing together capabilities of all PICACC partner agencies to drive a collaborative response to counter the sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines.”

A model of enhanced global law enforcement response against online sexual exploitation of children, PICACC is composed of PNP-WCPC, National Bureau of Investigation – Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Australian Federal Police, UK National Crime Agency, and the National Police of the Netherlands; in partnership with International Justice Mission.

The names of the suspects are withheld to protect the identity of the victims.

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”, except when referencing the name of statute. 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.”

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