ILIGAN CITY: On Friday morning, two women traffickers were convicted for sexually exploiting children online. Their names are withheld due to their relationship with the victims.
On January 9, 2019, the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit (PNP-WCPC-MFU) secured their first OSEC rescue operation of the year, where a 7-year-old girl was rescued from OSEC in her home in Iligan City. Five children ages 1, 2, 4, 5, and 10, siblings and cousins of the victim, were also removed from the home. Arrested at the scene were two women, including the primary victim’s 24-year-old mother.
International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Director of Legal Interventions, Atty. Lisa Guevara-Garcia stated, “We are so grateful to our partner prosecutors such as Fiscal Jasmin Diaz who have become our allies in the fight against OSEC. Together, we have innovated prosecution strategies that would ultimately serve the best interests of the child. The expeditious resolution of OSEC cases in the courts have become an urgency as it should be and it is our hope that this would become the norm for all OSEC cases not only in Mindanao but all over the Philippines.”
The primary accused pleaded guilty to Attempted Trafficking under Section 4-A of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364, or The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, which carries a penalty of fifteen years imprisonment. She also pleaded guilty to other offenses under RA 7610, or The Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, and RA 9775, the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
The other accused, who received money on behalf of the primary accused, also pleaded guilty to RA 7610, which carries a penalty of up to four years.
Assistant City Prosecutor Fiscal Jasmin Diaz stated, "I am happy with the outcome of this case. The survivors can now have a sense of justice, which I hope would help them in their journey towards recovery and healing."
The children are in safe aftercare shelters and are receiving proper trauma-informed interventions.
At the time of the arrest, PNP-WCPC-MFU Senior Inspector Rassel L. Tuliao stated, “We must protect our children from this callous, heartless sexual exploitation from social predators. The PNP will use all our resources and might to preserve women and children’s value.”
Friday’s convictions mark 53 total IJM-supported OSEC convictions since 2011.
About International Justice Mission:
IJM Canada is part of a global organization that protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. www.ijm.ca