Parents have been urged to be vigilant following reports of children being abducted to be sold as sex slaves or beggars.
On Friday (April 5) Manila police arrested a 27-year-old woman for allegedly trying to snatch a child from a birthday party being held in Marikina City.
The city police have identified the suspect as Marjorie Dejan, from Quezon City.
According to investigators, Dejan was spotted loitering around the birthday celebration at about 8pm. She approached the victim and forced the child to leave the area with her. Eyewitnesses then stepped in to detain the suspect and call the police.
Dejan was later arrested and detained to face charges of attempted abduction.
According to city police station commander Colonel Rederico Maranan, the suspect planned to sell the child to yet-to-be-identified accomplices for 1,000 pesos.
Previously, in February this year, a suspected child snatcher identified as Lilibeth Bustamante was caught trying to walk away with a 10-year-old girl in Paranaque City, also in Metro Manila.
The victim was playing in front of her house when the suspect took her by the arm and told her to come with her to a nearby store. However, a neighbour intervened when he noticed the girl asking for help, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
Speaking from her detention cell, Bustamante told reporters that criminal gangs were abducting children to be sold into sex slavery.
She also said that she received 1,000 pesos for each child that she handed to her paymasters.
“We’re only poor people,” she said. “They only give me one thousand pesos. I send it to my family in Mindoro.
“We have a quota of two children per week. Our target age is ten years old and above. They require us to take good-looking children. They get 70,000 pesos to 100,000 pesos depending on their looks. My cut is 1,000 pesos.”
Police said they have yet to establish if there is really a criminal syndicate involved in the abduction of children.
Metro Manila Southern Police District director Brigadier General Tomas Apolinario said: “We should guard our children and be aware of where they are if they leave the house.”
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