Monday, March 28, 2016

ONLINE TARGETS - Online Sex Trafficking

"In the Philippines, sex trafficking of young girls moves online" PBS NewsHour 3/23/2016


SUMMARY:  Sex tourism has long been a scourge in the Philippines.  But now there's a disturbing new trend in the trafficking of mostly young women and children: vulnerable victims are being lured online and tricked into the trade.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO (NewsHour):  Sex tourism has long been a scourge in the Philippines, an industry that thrives on trafficked human beings and deep poverty in this nation of 100 million.

Recent studies have shown that anywhere from 100 to more than 300 thousand Filipinos are trafficked each year; 80 percent, four out of five, are under the age of 18.

The government, under international pressure, has stepped up enforcement.  Stings like this one to rescue young women are more common, as are arrests and convictions.  But the sex trafficking industry, as always, seems a step ahead in the game.

It has expanded online.

IVY CASTILLO, Officer, Manila Police Cybercrime Center:  That’s only one but there are a lot.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  At the police cyber-crime center, officer Ivy Castillo explained one of the many ways that vulnerable young women are tricked into the trade.

IVY CASTILLO:  This is a fake account.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  Modeling is a common lure.

So, they’re pretending that this is a real modeling agency to entrap the young girls?

It has all the trappings of a glamorous fashion model agency, especially to a young rural Filipina girl.

IVY CASTILLO:  At first, they are requested to send this image.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  They’re asked to submit pictures that seem innocuous, facial shots, ostensibly part of the selection process.

IVY CASTILLO:  The next requirement is with a two-piece.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  The next steps call for more revealing images, just the torso, not the face, they’re assured, giving the false impression that it’s unidentifiable.  The young woman won’t make the connection that computer software will, until it’s too late.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  But it’s an industry fueled by First World demand, from pedophiles mostly in Europe, North America, and Australia, says officer Castillo.

IVY CASTILLO:  These foreign perpetrators, they have contacts here in the Philippines, wherein these contacts are looking for children.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  And perhaps the most frustrating challenge with this cyber-sex industry is a social one.  Cecilia Oebanda, who founded the Philippines’ largest anti-trafficking group, says many people don’t believe or don’t want to believe it’s that harmful.

CECILIA FLORES-OEBANDA, Director, Visayan Forum Foundation:  Because they think that they’re — the girls are just actually performing in the computer, and there’s no contact, there is no touch.  For them, it’s OK.  There’s no harm actually put to the child.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  At a shelter her agency runs is living proof that it’s not just emotionally abusive, but also frequently escalates.  The children are invariably inducted into traditional prostitution and its daily physical abuse.

These two 15-year-olds were rescued in a police sting from a cyber-porn racket.  Their alleged pimp, a man named Jerrie Arraz began as a good samaritan neighbor.

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