The Philippine National Police reported on Friday the arrest of two persons in Bulacan and Leyte tagged as “facilitators” in the online sex trafficking of children.
About a dozen exploited minors were rescued Thursday, according to the PNP Women and Children Protection Center. Two of those rescued were no less than the children of one of those arrested.
PNP-WCPC chief P/Brig. Gen. Arcadio Jamora told reporters Friday at Camp Crame that the United States Department of Homeland Security tipped the police about the suspects’ online sex operations victimizing minors.
The suspects were reported to be peddling images of sexually exploited minors online, according to the tip from the US which were affirmed by similar information from law enforcement agencies from Germany, Sweden, Norway and Australia.
Said countries told the PNP that they’ve arrested their own citizens for purchasing child pornography from the two suspects’ network.
Authorities from abroad and the Philippines gathered that over a dozen kids were being sexually exploited.
Jamora said that the PNP started case buildup and surveillance operations against the suspect last June.
One of the suspects was arrested in Barangay Guinarona in the town of Dagami, Leyte. She was with her two exploited children when nabbed in an operation aided by Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
The PNP-WCPC has applied for a warrant to examine the computers seized in Leyte and Bulacan for their use as evidence against the suspects.
Among the charges against the suspects are violations of Republic Act 11930, or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials Act, which lapsed into law only last 30 July.
RA 11930 mandates Philippine law enforcement agencies to establish arrangements with their international counterparts for faster exchange of information and joint investigations of child sexual exploitation cases.
Earlier this month, the National Bureau of Investigation filed charges of human trafficking against a woman who was arrested for allegedly offering online minors for sex.
The NBI-Anti-Trafficking Division said Jenalyn Joy Hierco was charged for violating RA 9208, as amended by RA 10364 and RA 11862, known as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2022, and RA 7610, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
Hierco was presented for inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice shortly after the arrest on 25 August 2022. The suspect was arrested by NBI-AHTRAD agents in an entrapment operation in Pasig City after a complaint was forwarded to their office.
A certain “Myka” was found to have been recruiting and offering online female minors, aged 15 to 17 years old, for sexual intercourse in Pasig City in exchange for P5,000, according to the NBI.
The operatives were able to contact Myka through Facebook and agreed to meet with her at a restaurant along Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City.
They met with Hierco, Myka’s cohort, on 25 August at the meeting place, where they were later introduced to the minors, who were offered to them to allegedly perform sexual services.
Upon handing over the entrapment money, Hierco was arrested.
Six female victims, five of whom are minors, were rescued and later were turned over to the custody of the local social welfare office.
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