Police make more child cybersex arrests, rescues
Authorities have rescued four girls and arrested a mother and two other women for allegedly livestreaming sexually exploitative videos of children to men paying by the minute to watch from the United States.
Three sisters, ages 8, 9 and 12, and an 11-year-old found in a separate rescue, are now in a shelter for abused children while the women face prosecution.
The arrests came just two weeks after agents from the National Bureau of Investigation raided the home of an American man suspected of similar cybersex crimes, arresting David Timothy Deakin, 53, in his townhouse.
Rescued during that bust were two girls ages 10 and 12, who had spent time in Deakin’s home. That was one of the largest seizures of illicit digital content in the Philippines.
Dozens of hard drives and a handful of computers must now be analyzed to search for other possible victims, as well as buyers.
Deakin denied any wrongdoing. “They got it twisted around like somehow I was using those girls,” he told the Associated Press after his arrest.
The series of arrests and rescues underscore a rapidly growing crime in which children, even toddlers, are made to remove their clothes and touch themselves in obscene ways.
Adults, often their parents, on the other hand, train video cameras on them in exchange for payment from pedophiles abroad.
Police in the Philippines are collaborating with their counterparts in Europe, Australia and the United States to investigate and prosecute.
The Australian Federal Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation separately provided Filipino authorities information that led to the arrests of the mother and two other women on May 5, rescuing four girls.
They were allegedly making the girls engage in sexually explicit acts while men in Australia and the United States watched. The women have been charged with human trafficking, child abuse, child pornography and cybercrime.
PO Arlyn Torrendon said she was part of a team that rescued three of the children and arrested the three women, including the mother of the siblings on Friday in a house in Bacolod City.
She said the children came from an impoverished family; their mother was a widow.
Gen. Liborio Carabbacan of the National Police Women and Children Protection Center said the incidents were increasing in the Philippines because many people gained access to the internet and English fluency was common, making it possible to communicate with would-be customers.
Also, he said, parents and relatives, motivated by greed, were often not even aware that it was against the law to exploit their children.
The livestream abuse happens in many of Philippines’ densely populated, impoverished neighborhoods, said lawyer Gideon Cauton, who works with the nonprofit International Justice Mission. —AP
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