4 minors rescued from cybersex den run by own parents
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — A couple would face charges after they were arrested for allegedly exposing their four children to cybersex in Barangay Taculing here on Friday evening.
Police Capt. Christine Cerbo, officer in charge of the Philippine National Police Women and Children’s Protection Desk in Bacolod, said the 28-year-old mother and 35-year-old father showed their children’s bodies to online sex offenders for a fee.
Authorities on Friday rescued the siblings — a 9-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy, and 2-year-old fraternal twins.
They were entrusted to the care of social workers while their parents were detained pending the filing of charges against them for online sexual exploitation of children.
Seized from the couple were four cellular phones, chargers, a pocket Wi-Fi, passports, assorted identification cards, and an unserviceable laptop.
While the law against human trafficking allows the media to identify the accused, the Inquirer has withheld their names to protect their children.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson condemned the actions of the couple, saying subjecting children to online sexual exploitation will scar them for life “especially if they understand later on the gravity of what they were told to do.”
“I’m sure there is a great effect on the child in the future. I hope the victims will be able to undergo therapy. That should be the focus right now,” he said.
‘Lazy parents’ condemned
“It is very unfortunate that the only reason I can think of why they (parents) allowed that is to have money. But then again, we should not allow that. It shows how lazy they are actually in taking care of their children. Definitely what the parents did was not an option,” he added.
Lacson said the couple who exposed their children to cyberpornography should be held liable for their actions.
“I hope what happened in Bacolod is isolated. I hope it is not prevalent here in Negros Occidental,” the governor said.
Councilor Celia Flor said the arrest of the couple should serve as a warning to parents that “such abuse will not be allowed.”
She added: “There are some parents who think that because it is done online, they cannot be caught. What they did [to their children] will cause terrible trauma to the children.”
Cybersex a billion-dollar industry
Cybersex is a billion-dollar global industry that proliferates with easy access to the internet.
Based on a report from the International Justice Mission (IJM), a US-based nonprofit organization that fights human trafficking and child exploitation, 88.3 million images, videos and other files related to child sexual exploitation worldwide were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2022.
To date, IJM has supported authorities in the conviction of 191 people in the Philippines for offenses related to the online sexual exploitation of children. IJM has also supported more than 334 operations, resulting in the rescue of 1,113 victims.
IJM works with local authorities and governments to rescue and restore survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems so they can better protect people from violence.
The organization, in a statement, said online sexual exploitation of children, including trafficking for the purpose of creating child sexual exploitation material, is a growing, borderless crime.
In these crimes, it said sex offenders communicate online with traffickers, often family members or close relatives of victims, paying and directing them to livestream the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.