‘Busy’ money transfers to Cebu for cybersex clients
MORE than 2,000 cases of money transfer transactions related to the illegal cybersex trade were recorded in Cebu province in a span of two years, according to Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.
Magpale said she learned about this during yesterday’s closed-door meeting with US Department of Justice Attache Eric McLoughlin and two agents of the Department of Homeland Security at the Capitol.
The money comes from pornography clients “all over the world, with the most coming from Asia and Europe.”
Magpale said money transfer establishments reached an agreement for outlets to report any suspicious transactions to authorities.
“Before they were naive in a way that one person would send money more than ten times a day. It’s definitely not an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) who’s sending the cash because after an hour, there is another transaction,” she said. The US visitors also paid a courtesy call to Gov. Hilario Davide III.
Magpale said Homeland Security has helped boost skills of local law enforcers in investigating cyberporn cases.
“We cannot say that we’ve already solved the problem because there are still a lot of cases. But we’re getting better with technology,” she said.
Provincial Board (PB) Member Arleigh Sitoy, whose hometown of Cordova has been the site of raids of cybersex dens, sponsored a draft ordinance that seeks to punish money transfer outlets that are proven to be cash conduits of persons engaged in cyber pornography.
Magpale said since money transfer agents are “legitimate businesses” the province can’t directly regulate them. Instead, they can help relay information to officials on suspected cybersex cases.
Under Sitoy’s proposed ordinance, a money transfer outlet could be “accessories to the crime” and face a P100,000 fine or one year imprisonment, or both as decided by the court.