TACLOBAN CITY-Three children who were victims of online sexual exploitation were rescued while two of the suspects, including a mother, were arrested on July 28.
Operatives from the Women and Children’s Protection Center (WCPC) – Visayas Field Unit and Samar Provincial Police Office caught the suspects in two separate entrapment operations in Sta. Margarita and Calbayog City, both in Samar province.
The victims, ages 10, 12 and 16, were offered money by the suspects to live stream their sexually-explicit acts before their alleged customers abroad who watched them online.
The first suspect, a 33-year-old mother, in Barangay Cautod, Sta. Margarita, was caught after she offered her 10-year-old daughter in exchange for P5,000 from an online customer who watched her performed live sexually explicit acts.
The name of the mother was withheld by the responding policemen.
Four other children – ages 12, 7, 5 and 2, who were found inside the suspect’s house at the time of the arrest, were also removed by the authorities.
The second suspect was identified as 20-year-old Mary Grace Soronel, in Barangay Obrero, Calbayog City.
She was arrested after she offered two children, ages 12 and 16, to be sexually exploited online.
Police found smartphones believed to be used by the suspects for online sexual exploitation of children.
“The arrest of these perpetrators means protection of not only the children rescued from their ongoing abuse but also the protection of other children whom they would have eventually abused if they were not arrested. Every single child protected is worth it,” said Atty. Lucille Dejito, IJM Cebu’s Director of Legal Interventions, in a statement.
“With just a smartphone, inexpensive access to the internet and enough English words to communicate in cybersex trade, perpetrators think that the cost of engaging in online sexual exploitation of children is low and that they can perpetuate it with impunity.
WCPC Visayas Field Unit Chief Romeo Perigo warned online traffickers to stop the sexual exploitation of children as they continue to intensify their surveillance operations through confidential intelligence reports that they receives.
The two rescued children are now under the safe custody of the Samar provincial social welfare and development office while the two suspects are detained at Calbayog City Police Station.
By: Ronald Reyes