A 5-year-old girl in the Philippines, who was suspected to be solicited by an Australian man, was rescued from online sexual abuse by Filipino authorities with the assistance of Destiny Rescue.

Destiny Rescue Pilipinas, an operational arm of Destiny Rescue, was asked to assist with logistics on a case dealing with the Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) referred to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC) by the Australian Federal Police.

The case was brought to the PICACC in January 2023, stemming from the arrest of an Australian citizen in 2022. The man was suspected of the sexual abuse of several Filipino minors via online video chat and possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM.)
The Australian Federal Police, Philippines’ Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were involved in the intelligence gathering and verification of the case.

One of the victims abused by the aforementioned suspect via online video chat, a 5-year-old girl from a northern part of the Philippines, was rescued on March 29, 2023.

Destiny Rescue assisted with the logistics of the rescue performed by the NBI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division and Digital Forensics Library and the City Social Welfare and Development Department (CSWDO,) supported by the IACAT.

“To see the collaborative efforts of the Australian Federal Police and NBI result in the rescue of the child is amazing,” Destiny Rescue’s Philippines Country Manager said. “We have worked on cases similar to this in the past, and it’s never an easy investigation nor operation to carry out.”

The day the child was rescued, the pair suspected of abusing her and creating the CSAM were arrested for violating four separate Filipino laws regarding rape, online, trafficking and child sexual abuse.

One of the suspects as she is taken into custody

Overwhelming evidence was gathered with a search warrant by Filipino authorities against the suspects in the form of video footage, sex paraphernalia and receipt of a money transfer from Australia to the Philippines in their name. This evidence indicated they had been trafficking, abusing and exploiting the child for over a year.

The child has been temporarily taken into the custody of the CSWDO, where she is being cared for and protected as her next steps are determined by government social workers.

The investigation further revealed the suspects abused other children. The NBI is verifying the location and identities of the victims so they may move forward with their rescue as well.

The Australian suspect is currently before the court in Australia in relation to child exploitation related offences.

A Destiny Rescue operative in the Philippines reflected on the case. “It was truly an unsettling experience…. However, the efforts of the law enforcers from the Philippines and Australia, together with the support of Destiny Rescue, give a fervent hope that, someday, this evil can end,” he said.

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