MANILA – On February 15, 2022, Regional Trial Court Branch 262 Pateros Station sentenced one male and another female trafficker for offenses related to the online sexual exploitation of children. In exchange for money, they sexually abused two female minors aged 17 and 7 years old online. This conviction originated from a March 6, 2015 case wherein the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking in Person Division (NBI-AHTRAD) with the assistance of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) conducted a simultaneous entrapment, rescue, and implementation of search warrant operations in the same area after receiving a tip from a reliable informant. These operations were conducted after subsequent investigation and surveillance confirmed that the 2 accused were engaging in Online Sexual Exploitation of Children activities.
Both of the accused were found guilty of two (2) counts of Qualified Trafficking in Persons under Section 4 (e) of Republic Act No. 10364 (Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012/ RA 10364) in relation to Section 6 (a) of Republic Act 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003/RA 9208) and sentenced to suffer a penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Three Million Pesos (Php 3,000,000.00). They were also found guilty of two (2) counts of Child Pornography under Section 4 (a) of Republic Act No. 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2012/RA 9775) in relation to Section 4(c)(2) of Republic Act No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012/RA 10175) and were sentenced to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetual pursuant to Section 15 of RA 9775 in relation to RA 10175. They were also ordered to pay a fine of One Million Pesos (Php1,000,000). In all four counts of convictions, the accused were ordered to pay moral damages to each of their victims amounting to Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 500,000) in addition to exemplary damages amounting to One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 100,000).
Upon learning of the suspects’ conviction, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo reacts to the conviction by saying (that): “I was full of joy when the judgment of conviction was promulgated. It has been a long and arduous battle as this was a challenging case. We were also confronted with thousands of child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM) which took a toll on our mental health. But victory was achieved through the multidisciplinary approach that we took. Throughout the trial, we collaborated closely with partners from different agencies and organizations, specifically NBI AHTRAD, DSWD, and IJM. We also utilized the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or MLAT process here through which the US Homeland Security Investigations was able to provide valuable assistance in further strengthening the prosecution evidence. I would like to thank my colleagues from DOJ IACAT, Office of Cybercrime, and Office of the State Counsel for their technical and legal support so that we can present a solid case before the Court. Through the successful collaboration with these partners, we were able to secure the conviction in a way that also cared for the survivors. Finally, justice is secured for them."
Assistant State Prosecutor Moises Acayan had this to add:
“Upon learning of the judgment of conviction, I was relieved and grateful. Finally, the two victim survivors can achieve full closure. They have finally achieved the justice that they deserve.”
In relation to the State Prosecutors’ statement, Aty. Reynaldo Bicol, Director of IJM Manila Program Office, had this to add:
“These convictions play a significant role in the restoration and healing of the survivors. IJM is grateful to our partners in prosecution for their commitment and relentless efforts despite the difficulties during this unprecedented season.”
In observance of Safer Internet Day, IJM launched the #NotOnOurScreens campaign alongside the DOJ – Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, PNP-WCPC, TikTok, PLDT and Smart. The campaign aimed to cultivate a culture of vigilance against the trafficking of children for child sexual exploitation material.
Anyone who has information about an incidence of online sexual exploitation of children is encouraged to report it immediately via these PNP-WCPC hotlines: 0919-777-7377 (Smart) and 0966-725-5961 (Globe).