A global charity that works to protect the poor and vulnerable has stressed that poverty is never an excuse for the online abuse of children.
In a statement today (Thursday, August 22) John Tanagho, Cebu field director of the International Justice Mission (IJM) said: “Millions of poor Filipinos work hard, sometimes having two jobs, to earn an honest living while those who exploit children for online sex are often motivated by the desire for easy money.”
His words come days after a woman in Barobo, Surigao del Sur, offered to abuse her three-year-old daughter online for cash.
As we reported last Friday (August 16), the 22-year-old was also suspected of abusing her sisters aged 13 and 15.
Judge Retrina Fuentes of the Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 issued a warrant to search the suspect’s electronic devices for evidence of online sexual exploitation of children.
Following the raid, the rescued children are now in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Colonel Christine Tan, chief of the police’s Women and Children Protection Center–Mindanao Field Unit said they started their investigation into the cyber-pornography den in February after receiving an anonymous tip-off about the suspect’s activities.
“During our online surveillance, we learned that the suspect offered to sexually abuse her sisters and daughter and live stream the abuse in exchange for money from online predators,” said Col. Tan.
The online sexual exploitation of children is a crime under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law.
The offence can also be punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Law, Anti‐Child Pornography Law, and Republic Act No. 7610, which provides special protection for children against abuse, exploitation, and discrimination.
Penalties include imprisonment of up to 40 years.
“The successful operation is another testament to our commitment to lock up people who exploit our children online and to rescue their victims. We will be relentless in our effort to end the online sexual exploitation of children,” said Col. Tan.
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