About 170 people have been arrested in the Philippines for the online abuse of children since the beginning of September.
These arrests have led to the filing of human trafficking charges against the suspects and the conviction of at least 46 traffickers, the International Justice Mission (IJM) said in a statement today (Friday, October 12).
The IJM, an organisation that campaigns against the online sexual exploitation of children, commended the efforts of Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
As we reported earlier this month, both Magpale and the DOJ were instrumental in bringing a couple from Cordova town, Cebu, to justice for exploiting their own children.
The court was told how the couple forced their six children to undress and pose naked in front of a web camera. Overseas ‘clients’ would pay from 1,000 to 5,000 pesos for each ‘show’.
The couple — who cannot be named to protect the identity of their victims — both received life sentences.
They were handed life sentences for “qualified trafficking”, from five to 12 years for “other acts of child abuse” and up to 20 years for “offering, transmitting and broadcasting any form of cyberpornography”.
They were also ordered to pay 12.8 million pesos in fines for the abuse.
The conclusion of the trial came after more than seven years.
The investigation into the couple was also assisted by authorities in the USA. Agents of the US Homeland Security flew into the Philippines to testify at the trial.
The agency had previously forensically examined hard drives seized from the couple at its Cybercrime Center in Virginia.
John Tanagho, the IJM’s field office director in Cebu said: “The recent verdict sentencing a couple to life imprisonment for qualified trafficking shows the growing momentum to end online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines through an effective justice system response.”
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