By Bonita Ermac
ILIGAN CITY – Eight minors were rescued from an online trafficking syndicate preying on young children by authorities following the arrest of three members of the syndicate in two barangays here.
The Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) led by its Chief, Police Superintendent Christine S. Tan, Mindanao Field Unit, together with the personnel from the Iligan City Police Office and SWAT rescued the children through an entrapment operation.
“This is actually an entrapment and rescue operation of minor children involved in online trafficking,” said Tan.
The operation was conducted in barangays Poblacion and Tambacan where two and six minor children were rescued respectively.
Online trafficking involves the children performing live before foreigners through webcams.
“We engaged them online so that when the children performed, we were able to track down their location through a state of the art application that we used,” she said.
Authorities were able to collect the chat logs where offers were recorded, videos and pornographic materials. Payments ranging P2,500 to P5,000 per show were made through Paypal.
The victims, whose ages range from three to 17 will be placed at the shelter house of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as they will undergo physiological evaluation, said Tan.
The arrested suspects however denied involvement in the sex ring. Almira, 24, cousin of one of the victims said she was selling dry goods at their house in Purok 1 Tambacan. “Wala na te, dugay ra ko niundang, makita nimo sa akong balay te nga naa koy mga baligya… Ukay-ukay, she stressed.
Aiza, 30, said only her identification (ID) was used to claim the money and denied she knew the American who paid for one of the shows.
The suspects are facing charges of violation of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-trafficking law as amended by RA 10364 in relation to 10175, Republic Act is 9775 otherwise known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act and RA 7610 or the anti-child abuse law.