AN INTER-AGENCY task force rescued 134 sexually exploited children and arrested 15 offenders from 51 operations in the past 12 months, according to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The task force rescued 238 child victims and arrested 50 offenders in 76 operations in the first two years of collaboration among NBI, Philippine police and their counterparts from Australia and the United Kingdom, NBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Despite the pandemic brought about by COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), the recorded accomplishments were achieved through the joint efforts of the NBI-Anti Human Trafficking Division and Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center,” it added.
The task force, called the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center also partnered with the International Justice Mission (IJM), a global organization focused on human rights.
“This international collaboration of law enforcers has made a significant impact on stopping online sexual exploitation,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said at an anniversary ceremony streamed live on the NBI Facebook. “The task force now serves as a model for an enhanced global response against online sexual abuse and exploitation cases.”
He said Justice department’s Office of Cyber-crime has been working with the task force in its investigations by sharing leads through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The cyber-crime division also monitors incidents of online sexual exploitation by coordinating with internet service providers and social media platforms such as Google and Facebook.
Last year, NBI opened its Cyber Trafficking in Persons Monitoring Center, which monitors cyber-space for human trafficking.
The United Nations Children Agency in 2017 said one of three internet users were children below 18, and were at risk of harmful content and contact. — John Victor D. Ordoñez