THE PHILIPPINES—On 3 February 2021, Philippine police conducted back-to-back entrapment and rescue operations across Central Luzon, resulting in the rescue of 20 children and two adults exploited online by sexual predators in other countries. These IJM-supported operations also saw four suspects arrested.
One of the operations stemmed from an Australian Federal Police investigation into an Australian perpetrator with links to a Filipino trafficker.
Through the collaboration of Australian and Philippine law enforcement through the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC), of which IJM forms a part, national and local police units mobilised in Angeles City, Pampanga, to rescue nine victims – including seven children – and arrest one suspect.
Meanwhile in Tarlac, after investigating information from US Homeland Security Investigations, police rescued nine children and arrested three suspects.
A second operation in Tarlac saw four children rescued through a proactive online investigation by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division of the Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC).
These operations come off the back of a presidential directive to intensify action addressing the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC), sometimes known as cybersex trafficking of children.
Two of the four suspects arrested are mothers of some of the victims. The children are now receiving trauma and recovery interventions from the relevant agency.
IJM welcomes the increased attention and action to protect children from this form of abuse. The collaboration between agencies nationally and internationally is particularly encouraging and we are proud to be a member of the PICACC.
Further details in this Australian Federal Police media release.
See IJM’s global OSEC report to learn more about this crime.
Photo courtesy of the PNP-WCPC.
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