By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – Negros Oriental rescued four women, including a four-year-old child, following the arrest of a Norwegian national and his Filipina partner for alleged human trafficking in a raid at an alleged cybersex den in Barangay Candau-ay, Dumaguete City early this week.
Lt. Col. Ariel Hueca, head of the CIDG-Negros Oriental, identified the suspects as Ronny Bratlistuen, 42, and his partner Jessebelle Cometa, 22.
Hueca said that they enforced a search warrant at the rented house of the couple, after receiving a complaint from one of the four rescued victims.
Hueca said that the 27-year-old complainant reported to Dumaguete City Police Station on April 26 about the couple’s illegal activity, allegedly using her and two others for cybersex operations.
“The said police station endorsed the case to the CIDG, prompting us to conduct a case-build up prior to the raid,” he added.
During the operation, the CIDG, in coordination with the local police and the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD), rescued the complainant and three other victims aged 23, 36, and four. They were being kept in four separate rooms inside the house.
Authorities recovered during the operation, some objects used for simulation, six laptops, three passports, three notebooks, various documents, and a desktop computer used for the cybersex operations.
Hueca said that the couple has allegedly been engaging in the illegal activity for the past three years.
But the police have found it hard tracking them down because they were transferring from one place to another within the province, until they settled in Dumaguete City, where they have been operating for about a year now.
He said that the complainant reported the couple’s activities to the police because she could not take it anymore.
Hueca said that the complainant told authorities that she was offered by Cometa, who was her friend, a job which she could earn P10,000 per week.
However, when she joined them, she was surprised that she was only given P300 per week, and was allegedly told to show her naked body and do sexual simulation to their foreign clients online, he added.
The complainant also alleged that they were obliged to use shabu before their performance, although no illegal drugs were seized during the operation, except for a lighter and foil.
He said that they were not yet sure if there were still other female victims who were also doing such sexual acts for money in the house, since only four of them were seen at the residence at that time.
Hueca also said that the child was not directly involved in the alleged cybersex activities, although she told the police that she could sometimes hear her mother talking to someone in the adjacent room.
“She’s (child) been living with her 36-year-old mother at the couple’s rented house,” he said.
He said that charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003” in relation to RA 10175 or the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” will be filed against the two suspects who are now under police custody.
He said that they will further investigate the extent of the couple’s transactions through the recovered evidence, to also determine if they are engaging in other illegal businesses in the province in connection with their offense.