MANILA, PHILIPPINES – On July 20, 2020, a woman who produced and distributed child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM) online and offered children for in-person sexual exploitation was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In a Decision handed by Presiding Judge Maria Angelica Paras-Quiambao of the Regional Trial Court Branch 59 in Angeles City through videoconferencing, the accused (identity hidden to protect the victims, one of whom is her own niece) was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violations of the Anti-Child Pornography Act in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. She was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and was ordered to pay PHP 2.15 million in fines and damages.
Upon hearing about the conviction, the 10-year old girl survivor wrote, “May kunting saya at lungkot nong nalaman ko po na nakukulong na si tita. Ang natutunan ko po dito sa center ay walang pwedeng humawak sa katawan ko. At masaya din po ako dahil natutunan din po ng tita ko ang ginawa niya sa akin,
There is some happiness and sadness when I learned that my aunt was imprisoned. What I’m learning here in the Center is that no one can touch my body. And I am also happy that my aunt is learning from what she has done to me.
She was only 6 years old when rescued, 8 years old when she bravely testified against the accused inside the judge’s chambers.
IJM Manila Special Counsel for Legal Intervention, Atty. Kathleen Piccio said, “Once again, justice and truth have prevailed in the war against OSEC. Indeed, an effective criminal justice system will always give rise to perpetrator accountability, create deterrence, and protect not only the children rescued, like that brave little girl who survived and fought hard for justice in this case, but also countless others who will never be abused.”
This case of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) began as a referral received from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation by the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center – Anti Trafficking in Persons Division (PNP-WCPC-ATIPD). Investigation led to the accused’s arrest in August 16, 2016 where three children (aged 4 to 6 at the time) were rescued.
The accused had been instructing the children to undress and show private parts before a camera. The accused offered these CSEM for paying customers online. She also offered the children for in-person exploitation.
Atty. Reynaldo Bicol, Field Office Director of IJM Manila, said,
These convictions play a significant role in the restoration and healing of the survivors. We are grateful for our partners in prosecution for their ongoing work despite the difficulties during this unprecedented season.
All the survivors are safe under the supervision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and have been receiving trauma-informed interventions.
This is the second OSEC conviction that IJM supported during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Additional Note: The Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse , also known as the Luxembourg Guidelines, prescribes the use of the term “child sexual abuse material” or “child sexual exploitation material” instead of “child pornography”, except when referencing the name of statute. Sexualized material that depicts or otherwise represents children is a representation, and a form, of child sexual abuse and should not be described as “pornography.”
About International Justice Mission: International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. As the largest anti slavery organization in the world, IJM partners with local authorities in 21 program offices across 13 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor. We work side-by-side with local authorities and governments to rescue and restore survivors, hold perpetrators accountable in local courts, and strengthen the public justice system so it can better protect people from violence. www.IJM.org
For more inquires, contact: Evelyn Pingul IJM Communications, Activations and Partnerships Director [email protected]