Minors freed from online sex dens

The International Justice Mission reported in 2020 that ‘within three years, the estimated prevalence rate of Internet-based child sexual exploitation more than tripled.’

September 10, 2022

Over a dozen minors were rescued from alleged maintainers of online sex shows in Manila and Caloocan, the police reported Friday.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. and National Capital Region Police Office chief P/Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo presided over an entrapment operation that led to the rescue of 15 trafficked minors in Sampaloc, Manila.

A day earlier, police operatives also rescued two minors forced into online sexual exploitation in Caloocan, according to Philippine National Police chief P/Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.

The Manila cybersex operation was described by Abalos as “very disturbing and the worst of its kind as they target and victimize innocent children.”

In the 2020 study Online Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Philippines, the International Justice Mission reported that “within three years, the estimated prevalence rate of Internet-based child sexual exploitation more than tripled.”

“Internet protocol addresses used for child sexual exploitation increased from 43 out of every 10,000 in 2014 to 149 out of every 10,000 in 2017,” the IJM said of the report based on the survey conducted in 2019.

“The study also confirmed the Philippines as a global hotspot for OSEC with data from participating law enforcement agencies globally showing that the country received more than eight times as many referrals as any other country during the 2010-2017 baseline period,” IJM said.

To combat the online sexual exploitation of children, the information and communications technology, social welfare, and interior and local government departments joined forces against cybersex operators and those who physically exploit children sexually.

Abalos cited the need to ensure that children are afforded safe space online amid the proliferation of cyberpornography especially with many people barred from leaving their homes during the pandemic lockdowns.

“They (children) are more exposed to activities done virtually in the light of the restrictions brought by the pandemic,” Abalos said.

“With the help of the DoJ, DSWD and the DICT, we can intensify our initiatives on tracking down cybersex dens and save our children and minors from the abuse and danger,” he added.

He also urged the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious online activities to the police.

Meanwhile, the PNP Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Management under Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon has opened a new information and communication technology management course to develop expertise among as many PNP personnel as possible.

De Leon said the training of policemen is a continuing process because many crimes are now being committed with the help of technology.

Those rescued in Caloocan were aged 13 and 16 who were forced to do sexual things that were then live-streamed or made available in downloadable video form online.

The Antipolo City Social Welfare and Development tipped off the police about the cybersex operation in Caloocan.

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