EU police agency’s most wanted online sex offender arrested in Cebu City

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online child sex offender
The online child sex offender Nelson Siacor Torayno following his arrest.

An online child sex offender — the number-one target of the European Union’s law enforcement agency — has been arrested in Cebu City.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents and police officers arrested Nelson Siacor Torayno, aged 32, at his rented room in Barangay Luz on April 12. 

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Details of the raid were revealed in a statement issued today (Thursday, July 25). The delayed announcement was to protect ongoing operations stemming from the arrest.

Torayno had previously been named by Europol as its “most wanted criminal for the production and distribution of child sexual exploitation materials on the dark web”. Police say he was found in possession of thousands of images and videos showing children being sexually abused by an adult.

He was arrested for possession of these materials “with intent to sell, distribute, publish or broadcast, committed through the use of information communications technology”.

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The arrest was made under a search warrant issued by a Cebu City court after the Queensland Police Service in Australia forwarded a referral to the Australian Federal Police, which then referred the case to the NBI and the Philippine National Police.

The UK’s National Crime Agency and the campaigning charity International Justice Mission also supported the operation.

Torayna remains in detention at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center in Cebu City.

Today’s statement also said that eight children — neighbours and acquaintances of the suspect — were rescued following the raid. They range in age from three to 11.

In one case the sex offender met a 10-year-old boy at an internet cafe and paid for his computer games in order to befriend him. The suspect was eventually able to lure the boy to another location where the sexual abuse took place, the statement said.

“All children rescued have been reintegrated back to their families and will continue to receive trauma-informed interventions,” the release stated.

The online sexual exploitation of children violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of up to five million pesos. It can also lead to charges under anti-cybercrime, anti-child pornography and anti-child abuse laws.

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