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Philippine court comes down hard on child-abusing mom

32-year-old woman gets four life terms for sexually abusing 6-year-old son,1-year-old girl online for profit
Live-streaming child sexual abuse is reported to be prevalent in the Catholic-majority Philippines due to an active underground sex industry.

Live-streaming child sexual abuse is reported to be prevalent in the Catholic-majority Philippines due to an active underground sex industry. (Photo: International Justice Mission)

Published: November 20, 2023 10:43 AM GMT
Updated: November 21, 2023 07:43 AM GMT

A court in the Philippines has sentenced a 32-year-old mother to four life terms in prison for exploiting her six-year-old son and one-year-old girl for profit in one of the strongest penalties against online sexual abuse of children.

The conviction is another “testament to the government’s relentless effort” in ending trafficking and online sexual abuse of children, said regional prosecutor Janet Grace Dalisay-Fabrero.

The court decision, dated Oct. 16, was made public on Nov. 15 by the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental organization that deals with online child abuse in the country.

Live-streaming sex content using children is reported to be prevalent in the Catholic-majority Philippines because of its active underground sex industry, robust remittance infrastructure, inexpensive internet access, and English language proficiency, reports say.

Until November this year, police rescued 1,198 victims, arrested 372 suspects, and convicted 212 for child sex abuse, according to local media reports. 

Nearly 500,000 children were sexually abused online in the Philippines last year, with nearly 250,000 adults perpetrating it, media estimates show.

Traffickers are often relatives of the children — parents, family members, or close friends. 

Child rights activists say general society and the government need to work together to end online sex abuse of children. 

On Aug. 23, 2022, the government said it had chalked out a “comprehensive approach” to address the problem.

The government has partnered with telecommunications companies and internet service providers to filter the payment for sex abuse content. 

According to IJM, its partnership with the authorities has “led to a dramatic decrease” in the trafficking of children in bars and brothels by up to 30 percent in some cities.

The Catholic church in the country has dedicated a Sunday as the National Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

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