Mother gets 42 years for peddling minor daughters to online sex predators
CEBU CITY—A 40-year-old mother will be spending the next 36 to 42 years in jail for peddling her two minor daughters to online sex predators.
Estela, a pseudonym, pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials (CSAEM) before Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar province.
As part of a plea bargain agreement, Estela will serve a minimum of 36 years to a maximum of 42 years in prison and was fined P900,000 for all three charges.
Estela was arrested by the Women and Children Protection Center-Visayas Field Unit of the Philippine National Police for “producing and distributing” CSAEM involving her 11-year-old and 13-year-old daughters.
The girls were rescued from a town in Samar on March 18, 2023, and are now under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s care.
Estela pleaded guilty to a lesser offense four days later as part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor, resulting in a reduced sentence.
Regional Prosecutor Irwin Maraya praised the guilty plea and called for an end to child exploitation.
“Every conviction means more children are safe from the horrific crime of online sexual exploitation. Perpetrators must be made aware that the online sexual exploitation of children is a severe crime that carries severe consequences,” he said in a statement released on Thursday.
He added: “We will not rest until every child is protected from harm and every perpetrator is held accountable for their actions.”
According to a report by the International Justice Mission (IJM), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization combating human trafficking and child exploitation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported over 88.3 million images, videos, and other files related to child sexual exploitation in 2022.
The IJM has assisted in convicting 191 individuals in the Philippines for crimes related to online child sexual exploitation and supported 334 operations, leading to the rescue of 1,113 victims.
The IJM collaborates with local authorities and governments to aid survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and strengthen public justice systems to protect individuals from violence.
Online child sexual exploitation, including trafficking for creating CSAEM, is a growing, borderless crime, the organization said. In such crimes, sex offenders often communicate online with traffickers, usually victims’ family members or close relatives, and pay them to livestream the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Lawyer Lucille Dejito, IJM Cebu director, lauded their local partners’ efforts for promptly delivering justice in Estela’s case.
“This demonstrated that a strong investigation builds air-tight evidence that makes a compelling case for conviction,” she said.
“At IJM, we are dedicated to protecting children and holding accountable those who abuse and exploit them. We are committed to working hand in hand with the government and law enforcement to put an end to this heinous crime and keep Filipino children safe.” INQ
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