“Cult leaders” arrested on human trafficking charges

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Arrested on human trafficking charges in Bohol (Image from Street Kids Philippines Mission)

The Bureau of Immigration has arrested an American and his wife on human trafficking charges involving 38 children in the village of Bool, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

Arrested were Matthew and Dalisay Dwinells – the couple have been reported as running a cult – possibly related to the human trafficking charges being posted against them.

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The couple were arrested on Saturday, along with at least 38 children who are said to have been rescued from the large two-story home they were living in.

Local authorities said the missionary lacked permits to bring the children to Bohol – when police arrested the couple they even lacked parental consent papers for all of the 38 children involved.

In all, 28 of those 38 children were minors, 15 of those were girls, 13 were boys with a large percentage of them originally from Cebu – the remaining 10 were not reported on – local sources said that one child was from Negros Oriental and two were from the province of Leyte.

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An investigation into the matter shows that the children were originally brought to the town of Dauis (Bohol) in 2015 and were then transferred to the house in Tagbilaran City.

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The foreign couple deny they had any hand in the alleged allegations of human trafficking, but could not present proper papers, only a license to operate an orphanage issued by the town of Dauis in 2015, not in the large home in Tagbilaran.

An indepth look at the couple showed that four of the children were attending college, while many others were enrolled in elementary and high schools, all paid for by the foreign nationals.

The so called orphanage was known locally as SKMP (Street Kids Philippines Mission), founded in 2010, it is one of several ministries operating under the sect ‘His Dwelling Church.”

NBI raided the orphanage based on the reality that they were operating without a license – that license would have been issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The home the children were living in was only a rented residence – it was rented under the name Lilie Ann Aba-Acasl who is known as the operator of ‘Prayer Mountain Bohol,’ a training center for would-be pastors of the Dwinell’s sect.

NBI officials say the children were used to gain money to run the orphanage as well as to send them to school, while producing a lifestyle for the foreign couple, something authorities say is exposing them for personal gain, or human trafficking. 

NBI also noted that the permit issued for Dauis (Bohol) had expired on December 31, 2015.

Prior to the raid, police had received several complaints from ‘concerned citizens’ against the alleged unauthorized activities happening at the orphanage.

Several children have been interviewed and told authorities that they were not harmed, and had a better life than where they came from.

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