by Father Shay Cullen Profiles in Catholicism
Human trafficking is the greatest evil that falls upon the poor, ignorant, and vulnerable children that are groomed, lured and brain-washed by corrupt adults into believing that the high life of money, sex, and drugs is the greatest trip they could have.
They see the high life in the movies, on the Internet, hear about it from friends, and pimps and human traffickers are patrolling Facebook looking for vulnerable children to sell for sex abuse to pedophiles and child sex abusers. The badly controlled Facebook is a grave danger to children and adults. It and other Internet platforms can lure them to abuse children and enable human trafficking. The Internet service providers (ISPs) operated by telecommunication corporations in the Philippines like PLDT, Smart, Globe, and Dito are to be held responsible. They allow the free passage of child sexual abuse materials by which the minds and hearts of children and adults are corrupted. The child sexual abuse images entice the pedophiles to go out and sexually abuse children.
That is at the heart of the crime of child sexual abuse. They flout Philippine law (RA 9775) which mandates them to install blocking software. They don’t and as a result, children are groomed and abused online and off it. Apple Corporation has said it has software that will detect child sexual abuse materials on their iPhones. They can detect it, block it and report the abusers who collect them. The ISPs should have similar technology. Microsoft has similar technology and is doing good, saving and protecting children. However, there is opposition to this by others who claim governments could use the technology for surveillance. That is untrue. Apple can guard the technology for its own use only, which is the greater good that we must choose.
Here is a true story of human trafficking and child abuse by so-called rescuers of trafficked children that happened recently. It all started on Facebook where uncontrolled communication is a hunting ground for pedophiles and child sex abusers. Here, children are vulnerable to grooming and brainwashing and are easily lured into “falling in love” with anyone that says they like them and admire them. That was how Lisa, 13, and Josie, 15, (not real names) happened to view sexually explicit images and become interested in having sexual experiences.
Lisa, 13, was contacted by her older sister Anna and her friend Josie, 15. Monica is a human trafficker that offered them a chance to have sex with customers and earn money and buy drugs and gadgets. Lisa was already conditioned by viewing child sexual abuse materials and chatting with sex partners online, thanks to the uncontrolled internet. She decided to go with Anna and Josie and meet Monica and the men to set up a sex party and meet rich foreign customers. The planning meeting was in Rico's Restaurant and was arranged by the human trafficker Monica. In the restaurant, Monica made the arrangement with the three men. They would go together to the hotel where there was a swimming pool and where the girls would meet with customers and have sex and get paid.
The man who was planning the party (call him Nixon) arranged the meeting in Rico’s Restaurant and opened a bag of money supplied by the donors of an international charity to show them he was loaded. They fell for it and agreed to go to the party and have sex with customers. Then, Nixon and his two companions said they would like to try out the girls first and have sex with them. That same day, they took the minors to a hotel and had sex, and paid them. Anna, 19, was also sexually abused. The party at the posh hotel was held several days later. After swimming in the pool, the girls met the men again in a room, and there Nixon offered Monica the money for the girls. Monica pressured Anna to accept the money on her behalf.
Within a few minutes, the agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrived to arrest them all, especially Monica and two other human traffickers. The girls Lisa and Josie were given to the government social worker as they were minors. When they were brought to the NBI office, they saw one of the men who had met them in the restaurant to set up the party. They wrongly believed that the three undercover agents who set up the party were NBI agents. The undercover agents were in fact from an international child rescue charity that specializes in rescuing children from human traffickers and bringing about the arrest of the traffickers. But the agents are corrupt and they sexually abused the minors Liza and Josie and 19-year old Anna during the operation paid for by the international charity. The girls were outraged and angry that the undercover agents had sexually abused them. They are now planning to file criminal charges against the undercover agents and the charity for abusing them.
In a letter to the Philippine National Police, the international charity confirmed the sexual abuse of the minors by the agents. But to preserve its reputation, it has disavowed the agents and says they never heard of them and refused to cooperate in identifying them by name. The rescue charity denies that the agents worked for them. This is highly irresponsible and a total contradiction for what they say they stand for and a betrayal of the children they say they protect and save.
The Olongapo NBI Chief, Attorney Orlando Navallo, a man of integrity and dedication to justice, has vowed to get the child abusers and bring them and their enablers to justice. He will investigate further and identify them all, he said. Another child rescued in Pampanga by the same charity during another set-up rescue operation also complained that she was sexually abused by an undercover agent. This is corruption without mercy. It must be exposed and the culprits identified and brought to justice. That is what we must do for all children who are victims of trafficking and abuse.