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  • IACAT Training of Prosecutors, Laoag City

In a joint effort with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT) has successfully rescued three minors and arrested a couple engaged in cybersex operations in Cordova, Cebu last May 26, 2013.

Led by the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Human-Trafficking-Division (NBI-AHTRAD), the IACAT composite team from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), International Justice Mission (IJM) apprehended Mila and Nilo for multiple violations including violations of RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act and RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 which carries penalties of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P2Million to P5Million.

According to NBI-Central Visayas Director Antonio Pagatpat, the couple allegedly used children in their community in Brgy Ibabao, including their own 13-year old daughter to pose nude and make lewd videos for their online customers for fees ranging from P3000 – P5000 per session.

Under RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, the names of suspects are no longer kept confidential but for the protection of the couple’s child their true names were not mentioned.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has taken custody of their daughter, another girl, 14, and a boy, 17.

Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, in-charge of IACAT, lauded the successful operations but said that there is a lot more to be done. “Our collaborations, both locally and internationally are key to this mission. We need to strengthen our commitment as the situation has serious impact into the way we view family and morality” Salazar said.

An information given by the US ICE to the NBI headquarters in Manila led to the entrapment, after an American was arrested in the US viewing nude minors online. He said they will continue the monitoring of cybersex den operations in Cebu and Central Visayas.

Cybersex operations have been prevalent in the Visayas region, particularly in Cordova, Cebu for several years now with similar cases of parents “selling” their own children on-line. Setting-up only requires a computer and a webcam and the payment is made quickly and accessibly through international money transfers.

“This victory against human trafficking should serve as a warning to all cybersex den operators all over the country. We’ll make sure the offenders get punished.” DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima said in a press statement. 30