Online Sex Trafficker Sentenced to Life in Prison

18 March 2023

LEYTE, PHILIPPINES – A female trafficker received two life sentences for sexually abusing minors, including her own daughter, in exchange for money from online sex offenders.

The Filipino trafficker was arrested in 2017 after she was caught offering to perform sex acts on her seven year old daughter and livestreaming this from her home in Leyte. Her daughter was rescued during this operation along with eight other children.

The trafficker was then charged with violations of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

In February 2023, a Regional Trial Court in Leyte found the trafficker guilty of qualified trafficking, child abuse, and subjecting minors to online sexual exploitation. She was given a life sentence for qualified trafficking and another life sentence for child abuse. She was also sentenced to 17 years in prison for sexually exploiting minors online, and ordered to pay a total of fine of PHP 4.5 million ($120,000 AUD) for all three offenses.

Lucille Dejito, Lawyer and IJM Cebu Director said the conviction was a huge win for global collaboration. The arrest of Philip Chicoine, a Canadian offender who paid the Filipino trafficker to livestream the abuse of minors, led to a referral from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to the Philippine National Police. In turn, this led to the arrest of the Filipino trafficker in 2017. Dejito said:

“This conviction is a significant milestone in the global fight against online sexual exploitation of children. It is a testament to the critical role of cross-border collaboration in providing timely rescue to victims and bringing perpetrators to justice. As a borderless crime, we must continue to seek borderless solutions.”

Chicoine was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison (later increased to 15 years) in 2017 for orchestrating and paying for the livestreaming of child sexual abuse. He pled guilty to 40 sexual offenses committed against children and was found to be in possession of more than 10,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse. He had spent more than $20,000 AUD arranging for livestreamed sexual abuse of children in the Philippines and Romania.

This story was also featured in major news outlets across the Philippines including Inquirer, Rappler, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin and SunStar.

Media coverage of successful prosecution outcomes is instrumental in raising awareness about the issue of online sexual exploitation of children, increasing deterrence, and elevating the work that IJM and other organisations are doing to combat it.

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.” 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.”

*stock image used

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