By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – The Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) 8 reported that online sexual exploitation cases (OSEC) have been increasing in Eastern Visayas.
PMSG Sarah Mores, Women and Children Cyber Protection Unit investigator, said that since their unit was created in February 2019, there were already 12 OSEC cases filed in court and at least 30 individuals rescued as young as two months old.
Most operations were carried out in Biliran province where most of the perpetrators were found to be relatives of the victims, who offered to live-stream sexually explicit acts or produce and transmit sexually explicit images of children to foreigners overseas in exchange for money.
She added that online traffickers are easily encouraged to engage in ICE (Internet Child Exploitation) because of the inexpensive access to the internet with the use of only a smartphone, and modest proficiency in English to communicate in the cybersex trade.
“Perpetrators are encouraged to engage in OSEC maybe because of poverty. It’s usually the parents who do the sexual acts then perform these acts to their children upon request of their clients. The cost is low with high income from P5,000 above per session, and they think that they can perpetuate it with impunity,” she said.
Mores shared that violators of Republic Act (RA) 9208, as amended or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act in relation to RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act may suffer a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than two million pesos.
The official said that they were conducting intensive information campaigns in schools and communities to inform the public of the presence of their unit who can respond to OSEC and other cybercrime cases.
“Our unit is fairly new that is why with the able leadership of PLtCol. Robert Bongayon Jr., we really go down to the communities to educate them on how to avoid falling prey to these crimes,” she shared.
Aside from OSEC, RACU 8 has also recorded cases for Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 usually committed by perpetrators who previously had a dating relationship with their victims and online scams victimizing online shoppers and job applicants abroad.
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