Philippine authorities arrested Australian national John Loffler and his Filipina partner after police caught the woman sending sexually explicit videos and photos of young girls online.
Intelligence gathered by law enforcement during the investigation revealed that the suspects allegedly ran an illicit business, profiting off of the exploitation of Filipino children. The two exchanged dozens of sexually explicit videos and images of children, receiving payments from online customers. Their victims are believed to be as young as 12 years old.
Victims of cybersex trafficking in the Philippines are often forced to perform sex acts in front of a camera—sometimes in a live-stream video—for paying customers who are often residing on the other side of the world.
On Saturday, operatives from the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), armed with a search warrant, entered the upscale subdivision in Iloilo Province where Loffler rented a home with his 21-year-old Filipina partner. During the operation, which IJM supported, authorities seized electronics, including storage devices, allegedly used by the suspects. One of the suspects’ victims, a 17-year-old boy, is now safe in the care of social workers from IJM and the Philippines Department of Social Welfare. The search for other identified victims is ongoing.
John Tanagho, IJM’s Field Office Director in Cebu, commended the police for the successful operation: “Some individuals think they can get away with exploiting Filipino children and selling sexually explicit materials of children online. Maybe to them, the Filipino child is not worthy of respect and dignity, but simply a means to make easy money. But law enforcement in the Philippines is relentlessly pursuing investigations against online traffickers and rescuing their victims as quickly as possible. And thanks to the diligent coordinated efforts of six government agencies, led by the WCPC, both suspects arrested today in Iloilo are now behind bars while police ready serious criminal charges.”
WCPC-Visayas Unit Chief Romeo Perigo also urged communities to support the government in fighting this crime:
“Let us be vigilant. Stand up and fight with us against crimes victimizing women and children. Report cybercrimes to the nearest police station. Our campaign against crime will only succeed with your help.”
This is the first IJM-supported cybersex trafficking operation in Iloilo Province. It’s a sign of growing collaboration among Philippine agencies to protect children and combat this crime.