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PNP steps up crackdown vs foreign pedophiles, other local sex fiends—Sinas

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas, yesterday said they are expanding their cooperation with their foreign counterparts and other agencies in the battle against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children or OSAEC in the country.

“We are exploring other avenues for greater cooperation and coordination to protect children from abuse and exploitation,” the PNP chief said citing President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to intensify operations against OSAEC activities in the country, many of them being perpetrated by foreign sex fiends, in many cases in connivance with even the parents or guardians of children.

Police have conducted dozens of operations in the past which led to the rescue of minors being ‘coached’ by their poor parents, relatives or guardians to pose naked or do simulated sex acts in front of ‘pay-per-view’ online sites being run by syndicates.

The victims, some of them under age seven, were found to have been ‘pimped’ by their mothers or aunts to foreign sex fiends who have turned to cyberspace in order to victimize children.

There were cases too of girls between 14 and 17-years -old, all belonging to impoverished families who were being trafficked by their parents or guardians or are being exploited online, some being forced to do sexual acts or use sex gadgets to satisfy the cravings of their foreign viewers who are paying a minimum of US$5 or US$10 an hour to view the act.

Sinas noted a series of police investigations and operation launched by the PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), through the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC).

Last February 3, he said WCPC agents in coordination with local police units and the City Social Welfare Development Offices of the Angeles City and Tarlac City local governments and the International Justice Mission (IJM) conducted a back-to-back entrapment and rescue operation across Central Luzon that led to the rescue of 20 children exploited online by sexual predators in other countries.

Those operations also led to the arrest of four suspects, two of whom are mothers of some of the victims.

Sinas said that in Angeles City, Pampanga, the WCPC Luzon Field Unit, acting on information from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), launched an investigation that led to the identification and eventual rescue of nine victims, of which seven are children, and the arrest of one suspect.

He said that the Australian police started their probe following the arrest of an Australian perpetrator that is linked to a Filipino OSAEC facilitator based in the Philippines.

AFP Senior Officer to the Philippines, Detective Superintendent Andrew Perkins said, “the Australian Federal Police, a partner agency of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC), referred intelligence into the PICACC resulting in the investigation led by the Philippine National Police.”

In Tarlac City, the WCPC, through the Transnational Criminal Investigative Task Force (TCITF), acting on information from the US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), rescued nine children, and arrested three suspects.

“Through these strong partnerships we are able to identify and rescue those who are victimized through online sexual exploitation and bring those responsible to justice both in the Philippines and the United States,” said Ricardo Navalta, the Homeland Security Investigations attaché, as he expressed his gratitude to the PNP.

Still in Tarlac City, the WCPC through its Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, rescued four children with abused materials after having been identified through a proactive online investigation.

PNP-WCPC director, Brigadier Gen. Alessandro C Abella appealed to the public to report cases of online child abuse and exploitation to https://www.facebook.com/pnpwcpc.alengpulis.

“The President has spoken, OSAEC must be addressed and perpetrators brought to justice. The WCPC is committed to this order from the President,” Abella said.