Police chased the suspects along the main road as people shopped and dined along this busy street in Manila. The police caught up and arrested the two men on the run. Their crime: selling girls for sexual exploitation.
A 17-year old girl was also rescued during this sting operation by IJM and the Philippine National Police on October 15. Pictured above with an IJM social worker, she is now safe in a government shelter and will receive care to help her heal.
It all began with a tip from the FBI, who conducted their annual sweep to arrest human traffickers this month. Working off FBI information, police posing as customers approached the alleged traffickers, who offered a 17-year-old girl to be sexually exploited for about $175.
When they realized they had been caught red-handed in a ruse, they started to run.
These two men are suspected of running a cybersex trafficking ring. Authorities believe the Filipino men have been exploiting girls, primarily aged 10 to 15 years old, for the past five years. They would offer minors to child abusers in person, sell abusive images online, and set up live shows so predators could direct the exploitation from afar. Other foreign law enforcement had recently shared referrals pointing to the same men as prime suspects.
“The operation was not easy,” according to PCI Michael Virtudazo of the Philippine National Police Women & Children Protection Center’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (PNP-WCPC). He continued, “But the arrest of [these men] is a remarkable accomplishment of the PNP-WCPC and IJM, which put an end to [their] network of several social media accounts offering live sex shows, production of child pornography, and other child abuse materials.”
In a four-day period, the FBI sweep led to 120 suspects arrested for human trafficking crimes throughout the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Southeast Asia.