4 women get jail term for human trafficking
The first conviction stemmed from a sting operation conducted by the Women and Children Protection Center Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) on March 21, 2019.

4 women get jail term for human trafficking

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - March 2, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Justice came swiftly for victims of online sexual exploitation after four women pleaded guilty to their crimes in two separate cases in Lapu-Lapu City Wednesday last week.

The first conviction stemmed from a sting operation conducted by the Women and Children Protection Center Visayas Field Unit (WCPC-VFU) on March 21, 2019.

Nine minors-- two boys and seven girls-- were rescued during the operation that also led to the arrest of three female suspects who were all related to the victims.

The suspects were charged with Qualified Trafficking in Persons under RA 10364 and violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 under RA 10175. All three suspects pleaded guilty to the crimes of Attempted Trafficking and Immoral Doctrines, Obscene Publications and Indecent shows before the Regional Trial Court Branch 70 in Lapu-Lapu City.

 Judge Christine Muga-Abad sentenced each of the three suspects to suffer the penalty of 15 years imprisonment and to pay a fine of P100,000 as exemplary damages and P500,000 in moral damages.

Public Prosecutor Antonio Aseniero said the conviction of the three suspects is a welcome development in the fight against online sexual exploitation committed against minors.

"Raising a child takes a village; at the same time, protecting a child takes a community. This is a testament for the cooperation with law enforcement, the justice system, and Non-Government Organizations such as International Justice Mission," Aseniero said.

The second conviction involved a mother who was caught by the authorities on February 26, 2018 transmitting several child sexual exploitation materials. She offered her 3-year-old son and a 5-year-old girl for online sexual exploitation in exchange for money.

Upon implementation of a search warrant, police officers were able to seize several money transfer receipts from foreign sources from the mother’s location. The mother also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, attempted trafficking and obscene publication and indecent shows.

Abad sentenced the mother to serve 23 years, 1 month and 1 day in prison and to pay a fine of P600,000. The court also directed her to pay P500,000 in moral damages and P100,000 as exemplary damages.

“Every trafficker restrained and convicted meant protection of other vulnerable children who would have been abused if perpetrators continue to exploit children with impunity.  The conviction in these two cases is bringing protection to more children against online sexual exploitation,” said Atty. Lucille Dejito, Director of IJM Cebu Field Office.

Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane, head of the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking in Region 7, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all that took part in the operation and the successful prosecution of the suspects.

“As to these trafficking in person cases, just want to express my thanks to those who bring justice to the victims,” Gubalane said. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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