Five women who allegedly live-streamed the online abuse of minors — including their own children — have been arrested during three operations in Cebu.
The raids in Lapu-Lapu City today (Thursday, March 21) also led to the rescue of 11 of their victims, who were aged between two and 17 years old.
The traffickers, all women in their 20s and 30s — whose names have been withheld to protect the identities of their victims — were arrested during simultaneous entrapment operations at about 10am.
Police caught the five women offering to sexually abuse the minors and live-stream the exploitation in exchange for money from online predators.
John Tanagho, the Cebu field office director for the International Justice Mission (IJM), said: “Because of the relentless work of government agencies, criminals can no longer sexually abuse children online without consequence.
“The high risk of arrest sends the message to criminals to get out of the business of exploiting children for profit or go to jail.”
The IJM is a charity that works worldwide to end the abuse and exploitation of the poor and vulnerable.
The rescued victims are now in protective custody.
Mother sentenced for online abuse
Also today, a 25-year-old Cebu mother pleaded guilty to live-streaming the sexual abuse of her own daughters.
The woman — whose name has been withheld — pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted trafficking, four charges of child pornography, two charges of child abuse and two charges of voyeurism.
She was sentenced to a total of 26 years, four months and two days in prison; and was ordered to pay 1.5 million pesos in fines and damages.
The IJM was again instrumental in bringing the woman to justice.
Mr Tanagho said: “Engaging in OSEC (Online Sexual Exploitation of Children) is a one-way ticket to jail.
“The evidence in OSEC cases is so strong that the accused are often pleading guilty, even to sentences of 15 years or longer. This leads to excellent results of timely justice for the survivors and protects child victims from having to testify in court to their abuse.
“People selling the live-streaming of child sexual abuse think it’s an easy way to make money; but really it’s just a sure way to get arrested and go to jail.”
The woman was arrested in July 2016 during an entrapment operation in Cordova.
She was caught offering to sexually abuse her two daughters, aged five and two, in exchange for cash.
Authorities rescued the two children and another five-year-old girl that the trafficker also previously offered for online sexual exploitation.
As of this week, the IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in the arrest of 193 online child abusers and in the rescue of 456 victims.
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