Woman arrested for online sex abuse of children as young as three

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The suspected child abuser following her arrest in Cordova town today. Picture by the International Justice Mission.

A woman has been arrested and six young girls rescued from online sexual abuse following an entrapment operation in Cordova town, Cebu.

Police caught the suspect in the act of offering to sexually abuse two of the victims in exchange for money.

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The woman, who is believed to be in her mid-20s and pregnant, has been under surveillance for several months. Investigators had already found evidence of her cyberpornography operation.

During today’s entrapment operation today (Monday, June 11), the suspect again offered to film herself sexually abusing two girls, aged three and 12, in exchange for money. 

Police were awaiting near her house in Barangay Ibabao at about 10am. The house belongs to the grandmother of some of the victims. She is now being investigated as an accomplice.

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The two girls offered for sexual exploitation were rescued along with several other girls. Two boys, ages five and seven, who were in the house when police pounced, are now being assessed by social workers to check out if they also suffered abuse.

During a follow-up operations elsewhere in Cordova this morning three more teenage girls were taken into protective custody.

The raid was assisted by the International Justice Mission, a global organisation that works to protect the poor and vulnerable from abuse and harm.

John Tanagho, IJM’s field officer director in Cebu, said: “IJM praises the excellent work of the operatives in this case. Because of their courage, more young children are now safe from online sexual exploitation and another suspected online trafficker has been arrested so she can never abuse children again. 

“We encourage members of the community to report cases of online exploitation to WCPC so that the violent abuse of children can be stopped.”

The suspect, who remains in custody, is the seventh person to be arrested in Cebu this year for the online sexual abuse of children.

As we reported last month, a mother was arrested and three teenage girls, including her own daughter, were rescued in San Fernando, Cebu. Earlier this year, raids had been launched in Cordova, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay City.

The suspect will be charged under Republic Act 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and RA 9775, or the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Last Friday, we reported on the sentencing of another Cordova woman for similar offences. The woman, who was not identified to protect the anonymity of her victims, was sentenced to 20 years for sexually abusing her own four children, and four others.

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