Police have arrested a Cebu mother for allegedly recording the online sexual abuse of her own daughter and two other teenage girls.
The woman — whose name is withheld to protect the anonymity of her victims — was detained following a raid today (Wednesday, May 16) in San Fernando town, south of Cebu City.
Her 15-year-old daughter and the two other girls were taken into protective custody shortly after 4pm.
Lawyer John Tanagho, director of the International Justice Mission (IJM) Cebu Field Office, said the recent operation was the sixth against people involved in online sexual exploitation in Cebu since January.
“This operation shows that Philippine law enforcement is able to track down and arrest individuals who sexually abuse children and sell ‘live-streams’ of that abuse to pedophiles around the world in exchange for money,” he said in a press statement.
“If the community — whether teachers, neighbours, NGO workers, anyone — would provide tips or referrals to the police of so-called cyber-pornography in their community, then more victimised and traumatised children could be rescued sooner before enduring years of abuse.”
The police conducted surveillance operations against the suspect — said to be in her late thirties — for about a month after receiving reports that she was involved in online sexual abuse of children.
Police say she sent sexually explicit photos of the girls, and also offered to sexually abuse them and live-stream it for foreign ‘clients’ to watch online.
Today’s raid was conducted in coordination with the Cebu Provincial Women and Children’s Protection Desk, Cebu Provincial Police Office’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit, Department of Social Welfare and Development Region and the IJM, a global organisation that works to protect the poor and vulnerable.
The mother now faces charges for violating Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act. She will not be offered bail.
Other recent raids supported by the IJM include the rescue of a three-year-old boy in Lapu-Lapu City in February. As we reported at the time, the infant was being sexually abused on camera by his own mother.
Then, in March, we reported on another raid in Lapu-Lapu, in which five girls – as young as five-years-old – were rescued from the clutches of three sisters running an online sexual abuse operation.