Rescue Children from Cybersex Trafficking
“I could not understand the logic of these suspects in abusing their own family members. This is a very traumatizing experience for the victims and will definitely affect the way they look at their future.” —Carmelita, IJM Senior Social Worker
If you met Maarko* and his cousins today, you would see a joyful, energetic 7-year-old boy who loves superheroes and playing freeze tag with his young cousins. Yet when IJM investigators first met these children, the situation was drastically different.
A British man paid Maarko’s mother to set up a webcam on a computer in their small Philippine home. Children were then sexually abused and exploited in shows that were broadcast around the world.
The lasting damage of having a close family member exposing them to this brutality will be deep and intense, but IJM social workers have carefully created long-term plans for Maarko and his cousins' care and wellbeing.
The man who organized the cybersex trafficking ring is behind bars, and Maarko’s mother is awaiting her trial. Maarko and his cousins are currently living at a special shelter with other children who have been rescued from cybersex trafficking. There, they are beginning to heal, establish new norms and reclaim their childhood. The children are learning and growing in their new life—free to be children again.