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PNP-WCPC: Report online sexual abuse

July 3, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 295 views

PNPTHE Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) on Monday called on the public to take advantage of their Facebook help center to report cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the country.

“Should you have any information that may help us rescue victims and investigate perpetrators, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and report and share information thru our Facebook page,” said PNP-WCPC acting director, Colonel Portia B. Manalad.

Manalad, the 1st female graduate of the PNP Academy, said that as the Philippines maintains its Tier 1 ranking for eight consecutive years in its campaign against trafficking in persons, the PNP-WCPC welcomes the full and open support of the government in declaring war against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children/Trafficking in Persons (OSAEC/TIP).

She likewise acknowledged that the alarming and growing reports on OSAEC/TIP need the full attention of the government.

Last month alone, 15 TIP victims were rescued by agents of the PNP-WCPC in separate operations in the countryside which also led to the arrest of one suspect.

Two of the victims were rescued during an entrapment operation in Barangays Sto. Niño and Lagundi in Plaridel, Bulacan where one suspect was apprehended. The accused is now facing charges for violations of Republic Acts 9208 and 11930.

RA 9208 otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 instituted policies to eliminate trafficking in persons especially women and children. On the other hand, RA 11930 punishes online sexual abuse or exploitation of children, penalizing the production, distribution, possession and access of child sexual abuse or exploitation materials.

Officers from the PNP-WCPC, with the assistance of the Plaridel Municipal Police Station led by Lieutenant Col. Melchor A. Boaquin and the Plaridel Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office led by Ms. Laarni Lyn Hilera conducted the operation.

Manalad said that prior to the Bulacan operation, an Australian citizen was arrested by offices from the Australian Border Police at Sydney International Airport after authorities detected child abuse material or CAM images and videos in his mobile phone.

The suspect came from Bangkok, Thailand.

The PNP-WCPC director said that a technical analysis of the suspect’s mobile phone revealed Facebook Messenger conversations between him and various female adults from The Philippines who are believed to have received financial payment from the accused in exchange for the production of CAM materials they have to send to the suspect.

Acting on the information from Australian authorities, the PNP-WCPC conducted the entrapment operation which led to the rescue of the victims and the arrest of the suspect.

All three were taken to the PNP-WCPC headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The other eight female trafficking victims were rescued in simultaneous operations in different parts of Nueva Viscaya and Quirino provinces, the official said.

Agents of the WCPD Luzon Field Unit led by Lt. Col. Lucrecio L. Rodiqueza Jr. rescued three of the trafficking in persons victims in Bgy. Bone South and Bgy. Poblacion in Aritao, Nueva Viscaya.

Three others were rescued in Bgy. Don Domingo Maldela in Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya while another was rescued in Bgy. Salvacion in Saguday, Quirino province.

Another minor victim was rescued in Bgy. Lamu in Dupax del Norte in Nueva Viscaya.

The 11th victim was rescued in another operation in Bgy. Banga in Plaridel, Bulacan where one suspect was also arrested.

Last week, four girls-turned victims of a human trafficking syndicate were also rescued by officers of the unit in a series of operations in Taguig City.

Manalad said the four young girls were found to be victims of TIP-OSAC offenses. She added the TIP-OSAEC operation in Taguig City was triggered by the arrest of another Australian pedophile by the Australian Federal Police.

It turned out that during his arrest, evidence containing various video materials pertaining to sexual abuse or exploitation were recovered from the possession of the suspect. The pieces of evidence include photos of sexually-abused and exploited young Filipinos.

Manalad said the Australian police coordinated with them their efforts to locate and rescue the young victims.

Acting on the information, officers of the WCPC’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division led by Col. Renato C. Mercado launched the operation which resulted in the rescue of the four girls in Bgy. Upper Bicutan in Taguig City.

The PNP-WCPC agents sought the help of the Taguig City Social Welfare and Development Office led by Social Worker 1 Jurita Olvido in rescuing the victims.

All four were brought to the PNP-WCPC office in Camp Crame for proper documentation, disposition and interview. The names of the four were withheld to protect them as ordered by the law.

Manalad said they are further stepping up efforts to save victims of women and child trafficking in coordination with local territorial units, various government agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and foreign agencies.

“Indeed, the war on online sexual abuse and exploitation (OSAEC) cannot be addressed by one agency of the government alone, but by the collaborative efforts of all agencies involved, including civil societies and the public. This is a war anchored on our deep sense of duty to protect our children from harm, which now has even expanded to the cyberspace,” said the official.

Manalad said that on orders of PNP chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr., they would be very firm in carrying out their mandate to stop trafficking in persons in the country.

“This is a crime that requires a whole-of-the-nation approach and inter-agencies’ cooperation and collaboration,” she said.

The official encouraged everybody, to include the community, to act together to stop this crime that deprives countless victims especially children of their liberty, dignity and human rights. She likewise assured that traffickers will be penalized according to what is imposed by law.

RA No. 11930 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act imposes heavy penalty on persons who will induce or coerce a child to engage of be involved in child sexual abuse or exploitation materials through whatever means.