An American who had allegedly arranged to meet with a 17-year-old Filipina for sex has been arrested at Manila’s airport.
Antonio Bounab, aged 52, landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 11am today (Friday, May 18) where he was expecting to be met by the girl he had befriended on Facebook.
However, the suspect got more than he bargained for as the girl was accompanied by a female police officer posing as a relative of the girl. As soon as Bounab’s intention to meet the girl was confirmed, he was arrested.
The sting was launched by the police’s Women and Children Protection Center who had been tipped off by US Homeland Security about Bounab’s alleged activities.
Chief Superintendent William Macavinta, who directed the operation, said: “They received information that a certain US national will be travelling to the Philippines from Korea. They monitored him, including his online accounts.
“The latest activity they tracked was that he was going to the Philippines because he is talking to a Filipina and he wants to have a sexual relationship with her, and have a child with her.”
According to the US Homeland Security’s initial investigation, Bounab’s Facebook chat account showed he asked for indecent photos from the victim in exchange for cellphone, cash and offers of shopping trips.
“Our counterparts were able to identify that the three persons he was talking to are aged 16 to 17. They referred the case to us,” said Cf. Supt. Macavinta.
“This trend is called online sexual exploitation. They know where to go. They go to the dark web.”
He added that the girls were from Clark, Caloocan City and Cebu and that the suspect, from Brooklyn, New York, may have been in contact with other minors.
He also said the operation was successful thanks to cooperation from their foreign counterparts. “It’s good that we have partner agencies who monitor these kinds of conversation or chats related to child sex tourism,” he said.
Bounab will be charged with violation of Republic Act 9208 or the expanded Anti Trafficking in Persons Act.
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