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Lady solon wants operators of online sexual exploitation jailed

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez sought on Sunday, March 1 the immediate prosecution of operators of online sexual exploitation (OSEC) dens and their financiers.

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The chairman of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children said law enforcement agencies should exhaust all means to ensure that online sexual predators who victimize children are identified and prosecuted.

She also took the opportunity to commend the law enforcers for rescuing eight children and arresting two mothers who were involved in online sexual exploitation over the weekend.

“The vigilance of our law enforcers is paying off. I trust that they will continue with their work until all operators of OSEC dens and
their adult patrons are put to jail,” Romualdez said in a statement.

“I also urge our law enforcers to work closely with their counterparts abroad and international organizations so that the financiers of these
OSEC dens are identified and brought to the bar of justice,” she added.

Romualdez cited the Feb. 20 police operation in Pampanga that rescued siblings–10-year old boy, and two girls aged 13 and 16.

Their 40-year-old mother allegedly exploited them online for money. She will be charged with committing violations under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Recovered by the local authorities from the scene were two smartphones, two money transfer receipts, and lingerie.

Two days after the Pampanga police operation, five children – four girls and a boy – and a 25-day old baby were rescued from a 38-year-old woman in Laguna. The operation was a joint effort of the local authorities together with the International Justice Mission.

According to the investigation, the woman was the mother of the baby as well as the rescued male and some of the female victims.

The woman was charged with violating the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Abuse Act, and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“The vigilance of our law enforcers in protecting our children against criminals is truly commendable. Their diligence in surveillance led not only to the arrest of sexual predators, but also to the rescue of minors victimized by online exploitation,” Romualdez said.

“Let me also commend the foreign counterparts of our law enforcers and other international NGOS who care for our children. The success of their operation showed that only through international cooperation can we successfully combat transnational child sexual exploitation,” she added.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) tagged the Philippines as the “global epicenter of the live-stream sexual abuse trade”, with one in five Filipino children are vulnerable to online sexual exploitation.

According to the Unicef and the Child Rights Network, among the factors that make Philippines vulnerable to online sexual predators are widespread poverty and resorting to OSEC as a form of income, cheap internet and smartphones, ability to speak English well, wide availability of money remittance centers, prevailing norms of secrecy, lack of parental supervision, sometimes caused by parents having to work abroad, lack of resources to investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and rescue and rehabilitate victims.

Unicef also sounded an alarm over the involvement of children’s own family members as crime facilitators.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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