Rising incidents of online child sex Exploitation alarm PNP
The Philippine National Police has voiced alarm over rising incidents of online child sexual exploitation in the country following the arrest of two men allegedly involved in arranging the encounters via the internet.
Senior Supt. Villamor Tuliao, PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) anti-trafficking in persons division chief, sought the public’s help to put a stop to the crime in a press conference on Friday.
“Online sex exploitation of children is an emerging threat against our children so we consider it as a serious crime,” Tuliao said.
He said that it was alarming because it was a crime targeting children “who are the most vulnerable” in the society.
“We have to address this and the PNP and the PNP-WCPC are not [taking] this sitting down,” Tuliao said, adding that his office had intensified operations against groups engaged in such illegal activities, which resulted in the recent arrest of suspects Jamil Santiago and Anthony Mabansag.
He said that Santiago and Mabansag were nabbed on Oct. 15 after they were allegedly about to sell a 17-year-old girl for sex in exchange for P5,000 ($100) to a Filipino client in Manila.
Tuliao said that prior to the suspects’ arrest, they had been engaged in selling child pornography online, including live sex shows, for several years.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation tipped off the PNP in July on the duo’s activities after their link to an arrested American sex offender was detected.
He said that the two men were also mentioned in reports from the Nordic Liaison Office, a law enforcement group which covers Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The WCPC official explained that the suspects had been using their social media accounts to entice foreign clients to go to the Philippines to have sex for P20,000 to P30,000 with the victims, aged 8 to 15, featured in the pornographic materials.
He said the victims were passed on from one online child sexploitation group to another in a large cybersex crime network to which the suspects belong.
PNP-WCPC operations management division head, Supt. Shiela Marie Portento, noted that most victims of online child sexploitation were put in the situation by their own relatives.
She said relatives think there was no harm in getting their kids involved in cybersex for cash because there was no physical contact while the victims trust that their kin would not make them do something to endanger them.
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