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The Good News We Were Waiting For

November 12, 2010 ·  By Fr. Shay Cullen

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THE Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the local police raided two suspected cyber-sex dens in Mabalacat, Pampanga and Olongapo City on Thursday and arrested 12 suspects.

THE Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the local police raided two suspected cyber-sex dens in Mabalacat, Pampanga and Olongapo City on Thursday and arrested 12 suspects.

Last week, there was good news when the Philippine Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from Angeles city linked up with their Olongapo counterpart and raided a cyber-sex den in a private house just five minutes away from the City Hall. There they found five children, 14 years-old to 16, working as “show girls”. The den, operated by a married couple with four young children, had two large rooms with as many as ten computers linked to the internet. In one room, young women were performing sex acts before a digital camera that was sending their images to customers in Europe, North America and Australia.

The five minors were in the other room, according to their account, talking to male customers and exposing their naked bodies in lascivious poises. This was the first stage of their training. Later, they too would be compelled to perform sex acts on camera. The customers sent their payments to the den operator by credit card. The children had been trafficked from Angeles City and were paid from US$20 to $50 a week.

The children were now given protection, therapy and help at the Preda foundation and tearfully told their story of how they were recruited and persuaded with money to train as sex workers at such an early age .They told us that many of their peer groups are doing the same thing.

Government officials are primarily responsible with protecting the children and youth from all harm. Instead, the irresponsible and corrupt encourage and allow them to be trafficked and to be enslaved in sex bars and brothels by the thousands. The politicians issue mayor’s permits and operating licenses to these sex bars and refuse to close them down when the children are found there and rescued in flagrant breach of the child protection law.

The members of the international sex Mafia and sex tourists come here thinking they can do what they like and exude an air of racial and financial superiority that seems to intimidate the government officials. To be sure some are partners in the crime. A strong city ordinance can close or forbid such establishments if it has the political will and the moral strength to do so.

In the sex clubs and brothels, the children and young women are turned over to big dollar and euro-paying customers and they were raped, abused and turned into sex objects over the internet as child porn stars. This attracts more customers to jump on a plane and fly here to sexually-abuse young children they see and virtually rape over the internet.

The children are damaged for life. They become trapped, told they cannot leave until they pay all their debts, are depressed, suicidal and endure a worthless and miserable life where they are abused again and again.

The Philippines is becoming a growing sex tourist destination vying with Thailand. Human trafficking and enslaving young girls and children as sex puppets is the big attraction. Fourteen (14) percent of the tourist industry is devoted to the sex tourists. The Philippines is on the tier two danger watch list of the US State department. Last week, the US Ambassador Harry Thomas gave the Secretary of Justice, Leila De Lima, US$500,000 to help investigate and fight human trafficking.
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Last week, I appealed to the good Secretary to appoint a special assistant prosecutor to the cases of human trafficking and child sexual abuse here in Olongapo city. With that money, she could send two.

The government also needs to hold the internet server companies responsible for failing to implement the Anti-Child Pornography law. It is almost a year since it was enacted and yet the internet provider companies like Globe, PLDT, and Sun have not yet complied. This is a brave new law that is progressive and ahead of most countries in the world who are intimidated by the multinational business pressure groups not to pass such laws. Laws abound; anti-human trafficking, anti-child abuse, anti-child pornography and many more and yet according to UNICEF as many as hundred thousand children are abused and enslaved and few laws are implemented.

We, at the Preda foundation, rescue, protect and heal the child victims but it is only the government that can prosecute and give justice to the countless victims. For this we have to campaign all the more and never give up.

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