December 16, 2019 | Europol's former most wanted criminal sentenced to 20 years, with additional charges pending.
CEBU, PHILIPPINES – Philippine authorities have captured a Filipino man who was once EUROPOL’s most wanted criminal. His alleged crime: producing and distributing images and videos of children being sexually abused.
Torayno, 32 years old, was arrested on April 12, 2019, at his rented room in Cebu City, where police found thousands of images and videos depicting children being sexually abused by an adult.
A 2018 referral from Australian Federal Police (AFP) led Philippine authorities to investigate Torayno’s illicit activities. IJM’s Criminal Analysis Center (CAC) helped identify the suspect, uncovering a sophisticated network of fake online personas and digital security measures put in place to hide his criminal activities.
After analyzing the available online data, the CAC determined the true identity of the suspect and found specific locations associated with his daily patterns and habits. IJM’s team in the Philippines then worked with law enforcement partners to pinpoint his exact location, complete the investigation and secure his arrest.
The newly-established Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC)—comprised of representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA), AFP and IJM—supported the investigation.
Janet Francisco, Chief of the NBI’s anti-trafficking unit, expressed that Torayno’s arrest was testament to their commitment and resolve to fight cybersex trafficking of children. She shared, “It was a group effort, and a clear demonstration of how collaboration works to our advantage."
Eight Children Now Safe
Since Torayno’s arrest, a total of eight children—neighbours and acquaintances of the suspect—have been rescued. Two girls approached local officials on the day of the arrest to report that the suspect had touched them inappropriately as they walked a narrow alley. The girls also shared that Torayno was often seen with a 3-year-old boy and his two older siblings. With the parents’ participation, police and social workers led these five children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for assessment.
Police also rescued a 10-year-old boy who Torayno had met at an internet shop, where the boy often went to play computer games. To befriend the boy, Torayno began to pay for these games, and in time, he was able to lure the child to another location where he sexually abused him.
The following day, two boys, both 8 years old, were also rescued in Iligan City, where Torayno lived.
All children rescued have been reintegrated back to their families and will continue to receive trauma-informed care.
A Global Crime that Demands Global Collaboration
The PICACC, established in February 2019, coordinates Philippine and foreign law enforcement efforts to combat cybersex trafficking crimes.
William Macavinta, Chief of the PNP’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), was ashamed that Europol's number one on the list of sexual offenders was a Filipino.
“The message is very clear. Regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator or wherever he is, the WCPC will support working under PICACC to ensure global cooperation and response until the Philippines is protected from those who victimize our innocent children using the internet,” Macavinta said.
“The AFP is committed to combatting transnational child sexual exploitation, whether the offending and victims are in Australia or abroad," stated Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz, AFP's National Manager Crime Operations. "The arrest of such a significant suspect who is accused of abusing children to produce [sexually exploitative materials of children] for international dark-web distribution highlights the value of international collaboration provided by the PICACC."
NCA Director Rob Jones added: “This case truly represents how important the PICACC and international partners are to each other in protecting children and ensuring there’s no safe place for those with a sexual interest in children.
“There is no greater priority to the NCA than catching these offenders. We are very proud to have been a part of the team that brought this suspect to justice.”