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Editorial

Every kind of evil

/ 02:49 AM March 15, 2015

From Copenhagen comes news of 10 men arrested by Danish police for allegedly paying to watch live streaming of children being sexually abused in the Philippines. The Danish police cybercrime unit also confiscated their computers, mobile phones and tablets. Last year, as reported by Agence France-Presse, Denmark saw the landmark case of a man sentenced to over three years in prison for being part of an online ring sexually abusing children also in the Philippines.

These reprehensible enterprises have long been thriving, with the perpetrators, foreign and Filipino, seemingly always one step ahead of law enforcers. The crimes done to the children are horrific. Indeed, child cyberporn is every kind of evil.

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The Philippines was ranked No. 1 in Asia in the 2014 Global Slavery Index. And a global syndicate has been producing videos of Filipino children ranging from 1 to 12 years old being sexually abused in sessions that last for as long as two hours, for a select clientele of pedophiles in such countries as Australia, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands. The Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation are “waging war against these child traffickers,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said early this year. “With the cooperation of our international counterparts, we could track down the ‘secret society’ that financed the production of such videos.” The news from Copenhagen is an encouraging sign.

The videos show a woman torturing a year-old child and instructing a young girl in a Visayan language to perform oral sex, the Inquirer’s Nancy Carvajal reported earlier. There are “no limits” to the perversity, said Eric Nuqui, who heads the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division (Ahtrad).

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Armed with information passed on by Dutch authorities about the syndicate producing the videos, the Ahtrad team searched the schools and streets of Cagayan de Oro City, managed to find the children, and brought them to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. A blow was struck against the syndicate when authorities arrested the woman in the videos, since identified by a witness as “Lovely,” as she was boarding a plane in Palawan earlier this year. She eventually cooperated with authorities and named her partner in crime, leading to the arrest last Feb. 20 of Australian national Peter Gerard Scully in a house in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. The arresting team included agents of the NBI, Philippine National Police, Dutch and Australian police, and Interpol.

Scully has been tagged as the producer of the videos. He is said to have lured the children with promises of food and education before forcing them into sexual acts—an old story of how the impoverished and the vulnerable are so easily preyed on. The man appears to have performed even worse acts, including the murder of a 12-year-old girl in 2012, eventually burying the body in cement under one of his rented houses in Surigao City. An NBI team has subsequently recovered the bones of a child in a shallow pit in the house.

Whether that will be the end of this sordid tale is uncertain. Unfortunately, Filipinos themselves have also inflicted this evil on Filipino children. Early in 2014, an online child porn ring was found operating in the village of Ibabao in Cebu. Police rescued children aged 3 to 11 after the raids. “The data speak for themselves. It is now the No. 1 crime in our country. We have to act on it,” said Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, then the PNP anticybercrime unit head.

Acting on it means stamping out this evil, with both the government and the citizenry fully engaged. There are laws in place: Republic Act No. 9262, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, as well as RA 10364, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, and the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009. The DOJ has requested the telcos to block websites featuring child porn.

News of arrests overseas or made here by police and NBI agents aided by foreign enforcers serve to encourage the fight against the abuse and trafficking of children. But prosecution and conviction are what are needed to send the clear message that perpetrators will pay for their crime.

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TAGS: child cyberporn, cybersex, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual abuse
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