A combined operation led by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) on November 30 rescued a girl in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City, who had reportedly been subjected to months of online sexual exploitation and torture at the hands of her own mother.
Officials from the NBI Cebu District Office, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development Central Visayas Field Office were also part of the rescue squad (DSWD-FO7).
NBI-7 stated in a news release given to Rappler that it first learned of the alleged cybersex trafficking on October 10 from the Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) via the Nordic Liaison Office in Manila.
“The information arose from the fact that on or about June 28, 2022, a Norwegian national by the name of Raymond Harper was arrested by the Norwegian Police for possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM),” their statement stated.
Authorities discovered chat communications between the mother and Harper using the Whatsapp application on the latter’s digital device. The messages contained exchanges of pornographic and sexualized photographs of the youngster.
“Subject used a social media platform to offer the minor-victim to paying international consumers for the manufacture and sale of CSAMs in exchange for payment,” according to the NBI report.
The CSAM dates were from June 23 through July 1. When the photographs were taken, the victim was just four years old, as determined by the investigators.
The NBI further suspected that the mother fraudulently adopted the identity of Winston Comilang Aldave throughout the aforementioned transactions.
According to NBI-7 agent Coro Lastimoso, the mother was not imprisoned during the rescue since she was neither in possession of a CSAM nor captured in the act of broadcasting an illegal internet program.
“Immediately after transmitting the videos/photos, she would delete them. For this reason, a warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data was executed on her phone in order to conduct a forensic examination and recover the information she destroyed,” Lastimoso explained.
The agent stated that the girl had previously been detained for selling her younger sisters, but their mother filed a motion to dismiss the charges.
As of this writing, the DSWD-FO7 is caring for the child/victim.