Cops rescue 5 teens from online traffickers in Biliran

By Ronald Reyes

August 7, 2019, 2:38 pm

<p><strong>HOTEL RAID.</strong> Police operatives raid a hotel room in Naval, Biliran where a live-in couple brought two 14-year-old boys, whom the female suspect offered for online sexual exploitation in exchange for money on Tuesday noon (August 6, 2019). The 18-year-old female suspect and her live-in partner, 28, will be charged with violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. <em> (Photo from Biliran Island FB page)</em></p>

HOTEL RAID. Police operatives raid a hotel room in Naval, Biliran where a live-in couple brought two 14-year-old boys, whom the female suspect offered for online sexual exploitation in exchange for money on Tuesday noon (August 6, 2019). The 18-year-old female suspect and her live-in partner, 28, will be charged with violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.  (Photo from Biliran Island FB page)

TACLOBAN CITY -- Law enforcers scored another win against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) with Tuesday's arrest of two child sex traffickers in Naval, Biliran.

Operatives from the Women and Children Protection Center–Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) and the Biliran Provincial Police Office stormed a hotel room Tuesday noon, where a live-in couple brought two 14-year-old boys, whom the female suspect offered to be sexually abused online in exchange for money.

Both minors were rescued, while a 15-year-old girl was removed from the room along with the couple’s two young children -- a two-month-old girl and a one-year-old boy. Considered at risk, the 15-year-old girl and the couple’s children will undergo an assessment to determine if they, too, were victimized.

Four more victims -- three 17-year-old boys and a woman aged 20 -- were rescued at a separate location. These victims were identified during the police’s investigation of the female suspect’s online activities.

All victims are now receiving aftercare services from the Department of Social Welfare and Development personnel.

The 18-year-old female suspect and her live-in partner, 28, will be charged with violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. 

While only the female suspect was found to have offered the online sexual abuse of minors for a fee, her live-in partner was the one who brought the victims to the undisclosed hotel.

The WCPC-VFU received information about the female suspect's suspicious online activities in June this year. 

The WCPC is a specialized and dedicated anti-trafficking unit within the Philippine National Police. Their investigation revealed that she had been offering online sexual abuse of minors in exchange for money from foreigners.

After a thorough investigation, the WCPC-VFU planned and carried out an entrapment operation, in coordination with the BPPO, Naval Municipal Police Station, Biliran Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Eastern Visayas, and non-government organization International Justice Mission.

“Perpetrators think they can evade the law. But they are completely mistaken,” said WCPC-VFU chief Romeo Perigo. 

“They will be caught and suffer the consequence of their actions -- a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and fines amounting to millions. We will not tolerate anyone resorting to this illegal activity for quick money. I urge the public to be vigilant and report OSEC incidents immediately to law enforcers to protect children from the trauma this crime brings," he said. 

OSEC is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of PHP2 million to PHP5 million. Typical OSEC offenses also violate the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti‐Child Pornography Act, and Child Abuse Law.  (PNA)

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