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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Poverty in isolated villages forcing families to prostitute children

Residents are still reeling that such evil could come to their remote, Filipino village. Pre-school children played at a nursery unawares as the house next door served as part of a horrifying child pornography ring. It was there that live footage of children performing sex acts were streamed online to pedophiles around the world.

One of the raids saw dozens of Filipino police and social workers break into the bungalow next to the day care center in September of last year. A couple was arrested and three children, aged three, nine and 11 were rescued.

One of the raids saw dozens of Filipino police and social workers break into the bungalow next to the day care center in September of last year. A couple was arrested and three children, aged three, nine and 11 were rescued.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Childpornography, kiddie porn, Internet, Philippines, babao


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Ibabao, a secluded community on Cebu Island of about 5,000 people, Internet child pornography has become more profitable than fishing or factory work. 

"In the beginning I was shocked, I could not believe this was happening in my town," Mayor Adelino Sitoy says. Police announced they had cracked a global live-streaming pedophile ring in which Ibabao was a key source of the child pornography.

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Authorities and child rights advocates say the fast-growing global industry is infecting many parts of the poverty-stricken Philippines, with thousands of children abused.

Ibabao, located 340 miles south of Manila, is a typical close-knit rural Philippine village, where many of the long-time residents are relatives or enjoy close and longstanding ties. People here attend masses here in quaint chapels along narrow footpaths and dirt roads.

Police now say that behind the closed doors of the tiny wooden and brick homes, many parents directed their children for sex videos in front of webcams connected via the Internet to paying pedophiles overseas. Other victims were lured into the homes of neighbors and forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams.

Ibabao's remote location and the fact some elected village leaders with relatives involved ignored the crimes fostered the activity.

Some of the videos eventually found their way into the computer files of a known British pedophile two years ago, which triggered a global manhunt to track down the perpetrators.

Police in the Philippines began carrying out raids in Ibabao and nearby areas with the help of British, Australian and U.S. authorities.

One of the raids saw dozens of Filipino police and social workers break into the bungalow next to the day care center in September of last year. A couple was arrested and three children, aged three, nine and 11 were rescued.

Thirteen other children who were being abused in other Ibabao homes were rescued two days later, according to Philippine police.

"Cybersex dens" remain in operation here, but security fears and the Filipino tradition of not interfering with a neighbor's affairs helped to ensure that people did not pry further or try to stop it.

One housewife confirmed that many people in the community were involved and that she feared her four young children could become victims. She said that one of her children attended the nursery located next to the house where the three children were being abused.

"We were angry that this could happen just near the day care," she said. "I was also afraid, we didn't know what could happen to our children if they went to school because there were many here who were doing that."

An organized crime group reportedly relocated to the village several years ago and introduced locals to the get-rich-quick scheme.

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