A three-year-old boy has been rescued from his mother who was sexually abusing him on camera in exchange for money.
The victim of online sexual exploitation was rescued during a raid in Lapu-Lapu City today (Monday, February 26), the International Justice Mission (IJM) has announced.
His mother was arrested during the entrapment operation.
The boy is now under the protective custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Smart phones and money transfer receipts were found in the possession of the boy’s mother.
Lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu field office director, said the operation came two days after two other operations in Biliran and Tacloban saw 13 victims rescued and three suspects arrested.
“This is a reminder that there is much progress in the fight against the online sexual exploitation of children and effective law enforcement can rescue and protect traumatised Filipino children across the country,” he said.
A statement by the IJM added: “Before the entrapment, the suspect even sent sexually explicit videos of very young children forced to perform sex acts on the suspect.”
It is believed the suspect has other victims, including a girl of about five years old, who was pictured in an explicit photograph.
The IJM said police caught the suspect in the act of offering to sexually abuse the boy and livestream the sex act.
The raid was a collaborative effort of the police’s Women and Children’s Protection Center, Special Weapons and Tactics, Regional Anti-Cybercrime Group, the DSWD and the IJM.
Police will file against the subject criminal violations under RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act in relation to RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The IJM said rescued victims of exploitation are given therapy and rehabilitation. “Victims would only be returned to the community after a comprehensive family home and risk assessment is conducted to confirm that the home is a safe place for the children and that they will no longer be sexually abused or exploited by their parents or relatives,” said a statement from the international organisation.