Their crime: allegedly offering to live-stream sexual exploitation of the children online for foreign predators who pay to watch.
Operations last week in Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu City, Philippines, freed the 11 young victims and caught the five traffickers who allegedly offered the children for exploitation. The children, who range in age from 2 to 17, are now in the care of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, where they are receiving trauma therapy. IJM will work with government social workers to provide the immediate care that the children need and assess their needs for long-term aftercare.
This week’s rescues were made possible by strong collaboration across Philippine government agencies, including the Philippine National Police, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, IJM and others—a sign of the government’s commitment to protect children from this crime.
“Because of the relentless work of these government agencies, criminals can no longer sexually abuse children online without consequence,” said John Tanagho, IJM’s Field Office Director in Cebu. “The high risk of arrest sends the message to criminals to get out of the business of exploiting children for profit or go to jail.”
All five suspects will face charges for trafficking, child pornography and child abuse.