Police have arrested a 31-year-old woman for exploiting four girls, two of them underage, in a ‘cybersex’ den in Bohol.
The raid yesterday (Friday, July 21) was reported by the International Justice Mission (IJM), an international group that works to protect women and children living in poverty.
The woman was allegedly caught “offering the girls, including the children aged 12 and 15, to perform live-streamed sexual acts online” for foreigners “for $150 (about 7,600 pesos) per girl,” the IJM said in a statement.
At the scene, police seized the smartphone she used to produce videos of sexual abuse. Money transfer receipts and several other phones were also seized.
The suspect is now detained at Calape Police Station.
She will face charges for violating Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and other related laws.
The rescued girls are now in the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which also took the suspect’s 12-year-old son for assessment.
The authorities acted on a tip-off from a confidential informant. “The police online investigation and field surveillance confirmed that the suspect was facilitating these shows from her residence in Barangay Santa Cruz, Calape, Bohol,” the IJM said.
IJM-Cebu director of legal interventions Lucille Dejito stressed that active law enforcement was needed “to bring online sexual exploitation of children incidents the surface.”
This weeks raid was not the first that the IJM has been involved in.
In May, we reported on the arrest of a 54-year-old woman in Mandaue City, Cebu, who had allegedly been streaming footage of her daughters aged 10 and 15. The raid followed a tip-off from the Australian Federal Police.
According to the IJM, there has been an alarming rise of online sexual abuse of children in the Philippines. According to data gathered by America’s FBI, there are some 75,000 online predators at any given moment in the world.
A large proportion of their victims, the IJM says, are Filipino children.
From 2011 to 2017, IJM has rescued 201 child victims of sexual exploitation. More than half of them were aged under 12, and over 70 per cent were suffering abuse that involved their own parents, relatives, or close family friends.
The US recently gave $3.5 million to the Philippines to assist the fight against this vile crime.