Crackdown on child porno urged

Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez yesterday called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that operators of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) dens are put behind bars and their financiers from abroad are identified and prosecuted as well.

Romualdez, chair of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, made the appeal as she commended law enforcers who rescued eight children and arrested two mothers in a series of police operations against online sexual exploitation over the weekend.

“The vigilance of our law enforcers is paying off. I trust that they will continue with their work until all operators of OSEC dens and their adult patrons are put in jail,” said Romualdez.

“I also urge our law enforcers to work closely with their counterparts abroad and international organizations so that the financiers of these OSEC dens are identified and brought to the bar of justice,” she added.

Last February 20, a boy and two girls – siblings aged 10, 13 and 16 years old – were rescued in a police operation in Pampanga. They were apparently exploited online by their 40-year-old mother for money.

Local authorities were able to collect evidence from the scene, including two smartphones, two money transfer receipts, and lingerie.

The mother will be charged with committing violations under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Last February 22, in Laguna, Philippine law enforcers worked together with the International Justice Mission in rescuing 5 children – 4 girls and a boy – and a 25-day old baby from a 38-year-old woman.

The baby was deemed at risk for being in a location where criminal online activity was occurring. The investigation found the woman was the mother of the baby as well as the rescued male and some of the female victims.

The suspect was charged with violating the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Child Abuse Act, and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“The vigilance of our law enforcers in protecting our children against criminals is truly commendable. Their diligence in surveillance led not only to the arrest of sexual predators, but also to the rescue of minors victimized by online exploitation,” Romualdez said.

“Let me also commend the foreign counterparts of our law enforcers and other international NGOS who care for our children. The success of their operation showed that only through international cooperation can we successfully combat transnational child sexual exploitation,” she added.