International Online Child Porn Ring in PH Busted

Child pornography proliferates on the internet. Photo credit: Know UR Ledge.
Child pornography proliferates on the internet. Photo credit: Know UR Ledge.
Child pornography proliferates on the internet.
Photo credit: Know UR Ledge.

Joint police forces in Australia, Britain and the Philippines have busted a syndicate that offered live streaming videos of sexual abuse on Filipino children.

Twenty-nine 29 persons, 11 of which were in the Philippines, with ties to the pedophile ring have since been arrested.  As many as 733 other suspects in at least a dozen countries are still being investigated.

Police were able to rescue 15 children, all Filipinos, aged between six and 15 years old.

Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cyber Crime Group head, revealed that the bust was part of the police force’s intensified efforts to end cybersex crimes, especially those involving the abuse of children.

In the past, there had been several raids across the country, mostly in central Philippines, of cybersex dens that have helped rescue hundreds of children.

Parents Paid to Allow Abuse of Own Kids

Sosa revealed that there were even instances when parents were involved in the pedophile ring while their own kids are abused.

Though he refused to add more details that could jeopardize the ongoing investigations, he said that such occurrences were noted in Angeles City.

Investigations revealed that the kids have no idea they were being filmed and abused, especially since their parents are the ones pocketing the money directly from the syndicate.

A number of these parents and sex den owners are already being charged with violations against RA 9775 or child pornography and Republic Act 9208 or human trafficking laws.

Operation Endeavor in Britain

In 2012, British Timothy Ford was caught with obscene videos figuring Filipino children on his computer. Another man, Thomas Owens, who was an associate, was also arrested for the same crime.

Together, the two men would pay to watch streaming videos of live child abuse and had even planned for “contact abuse” of these kids by traveling to the Philippines.

Their plans were foiled when the British crime agency caught them, with Ford convicted to eight and a half years in prison last March while Owens was convicted four months later.

The arrest of these two suspects led to the creation of Operation Endeavor, a probe that involves at least a dozen countries.

Poor Kids, Rich Clients

Andy Baker, deputy director of the child exploitation and online protection command of the British crime agency, said he believes that the proliferation of child cybersex dens in the Philippines is caused, in part, by poverty.

The kids and their local handlers are poor while rich clients in foreign countries are readily willing to pay huge amounts of cash to watch the abuse.

Baker added that it is necessary to recognize and dismantle the cybersex syndicates to ensure that the abused victims are protected from further exploitation.

PNP: PH among Top 10 Child Pornography Producers

Sosa also revealed that the country is among the top 10 producers of child pornography in the world, identifying Metro Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and Angeles City in Pampanga as “hot spots”.

The information also alarmed Malacañang, according to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.

Coloma added that the Palace is doing everything in its power via administrative measures to stop further abuse of these children.

He also said that the government is committed to working with various agencies to solve the problem.

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