Seven minors were rescued on Wednesday by the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte from an alleged cyberporn operation.
According to Lt. Col. Christine Tan, OIC of the PNP-WCPC Mindanao Field Unit, the suspects were the grandmother and mother of the children.
They said their modus operandi was to sell the children’s videos to foreigners who make video calls using the messaging app.
For the amount of P2,000 and above, the young victims were used in the cyberporn.
The children rescued were aged 3 to 14.
Some of the suspects’ patrons are said to be from Australia so the PNP is in contact with the Australian Federal Police.
The young victims are already in the custody of the authorities while the suspects are detained.
The investigation into the alleged cyberporn operation is ongoing.
Cyberporn involving children amid pandemic
In April 2020, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said that authorities should closely monitor the possible increase in cybersex trafficking cases amid strict enforcement of home quarantine due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19.)
According to Gatchalian, because people are confined to the home the children are focused online where they are likely to be exposed to abusive individuals.
“Ngayong mas nakatutok sa internet ang mga bata, kailangan nating palakasin ang mga hakbang upang mabigyan sila ng proteksyon at mapanagot ang gumagawa ng krimeng ito,” said Gatchalian.
Despite this, the Department of Justice-Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OCC) reported phishing, online selling, and proliferation of information or fake news as the leading cybercrime during community quarantine in the country.
Online sexual exploitation of children or OSEC is no longer the number one cybercrime violation committed in the country amid pandemic, the DOJ-OCC said.