Joint elements from the Department of Interior and Local Government and National Capital Region Police Office have rescued 15 minors, believed to be victims of a crime syndicate engaged in cybersex operation in Manila.
DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr., together with NCRPO chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, led Thursday’s police operation in Sampaloc, Manila, which also resulted in the arrest of two alleged sex traffickers, one of them identified as Nazarene Joy Nodado, 18.
The victims and the suspects were brought to the Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Center for documentation and proper disposition.
“The positive identification, arrest of the suspects and rescue of the victims resulted from a series of intelligence driven operation wherein our police officers engaged this criminal elements online to earn their trust,” said Estomo.
He said appropriate complaint for Human Trafficking (Online Prostitution/Cybersex) will be filed against the suspects.
Secretary Abalos, for his part, said the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. strongly condemns cyberporn and other illegal activities particularly those which involve children.
“These kinds of crimes are very disturbing, and the worst of its kind as they target and victimize innocent children. The impact of cybersex crimes on children have long-term effects on them and oftentimes, ruin their lives,” he said.
The DILG recently forged a united front with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Justice and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the proliferation of cybersex crimes.
“We have to take seriously these kind of crimes preying on our children online and end sexual exploitation by strengthening our campaign against cyberporn and providing them safe space online, now that they are more exposed to activities done virtually in light of the restrictions brought by the pandemic,” said Abalos.
“With the help of the DOJ, DSWD and the DICT, we can intensify our initiatives on tracking down cybersex dens and be able to save our children and minors from the abuse and danger,” he added.
He also urged the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activities to the DILG or the PNP hotline.