Cop, another man nabbed, 5 women rescued from cybersex den
OZAMIZ CITY – Police authorities announced the arrest of a policeman and another suspect during a raid that uncovered a cybersex den in Katipunan, a town of over 43,000 people, in Zamboanga del Norte, on Tuesday.
Senior Supt. Edwin Wagan, Zamboanga del Norte police director, said five women were also rescued during the court-backed raid, which was conducted in Barangay Tuburan around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
He said the raiding team, composed of several police units, swooped into the house being rented by PO2 Joel Belleno following suspicions that activities related to human trafficking were being held there.
Belleno and his suspected partner in the illicit cybersex business – identified as Amelito Jake Jr. — were inside the house when the raid, backed by a search warrant issued by a regional trial court in Dipolog City, was carried out.
During the raid, Wagan said, they also found the five women inside the house and recovered computers and other equipment used in the cybersex operation. Four of the women were from nearby towns while the fifth hailed from Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Wagan said that when interviewed by the team, led by Senior Insp. Romar Lim, one of the women revealed that she came to work in Katipunan. The woman said she was recruited to be a saleslady but ended up stripping in front of a web camera.
The other girls, she said, also did the same.
Another victim, Wagan said, also revealed that they used to operate in a house in nearby Manukan town but had to transfer to Katipunan as their bosses felt authorities had learned about it.
The woman further narrated that in Katipunan, it would be easy for Belleno to protect the operation as he was stationed there.
Based on the victims’ narration, they were paid P4,500 per month by working in two shifts. One shift started at 8 a.m. and went on until 6:30 p.m., with a one and a half hour break from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The graveyard shift was from 8 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., with a two-hour break from 10 p.m. to 12 midnight.
Wagan said they got information from the women that the Katipunan cybersex den could just be one of the many operations being maintained by Belleno and his cohorts.
Belleno and Jake are being held at the Zamboanga del Norte police’s detention cell in Dipolog City while the rescued women had been entrusted to the police’s Women and Child Protection center.
The Katipunan cybsersex den was the latest to be busted as authorities clamped down on human trafficking in Mindanao.
In 2015, 12 minors, aged 6-17, were also rescued from a suspected cybersex den in Iligan City while five suspected operators were arrested.
Also last year, an American and his Filipino partner were arrested in Davao City on suspicion of operating a cybersex den.
The campaign against cybersex dens and human trafficking in Mindanao got a boost when in 2015 when a Cagayan de Oro court sentenced two Swedes arrested there in 2009 for operating the illicit business.
Bo Stefan Sederholm, 31, and Emil Andreas Solemo, 35, were sentenced to life imprisonment while their Filipino cohorts, identified as Andrea Romero, Arvy Baylon and Aminoding Rangaig, received a 20-year sentence each. SFM/rga
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