[People] The internet and orphanage – scenes of child abuse. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The internet and orphanage – scenes of child abuse
by Fr. Shay Cullen

Two major child abuse stories broke last week. The exposé of the deviant criminal behavior of paedophiles in the UK, America, and Australia and the Philippines who are sexually exploiting Filipino children through the internet, has been revealed in a BBC report which staff of the Preda Foundation in Olongapo city help them make.


In Lucena City, an orphanage, Sankey Samaritan Mission for poor children and youth was raided by the NBI and an American, Tom Randall and orphanage manager Toto Luchavez and his son, Jake Luchavez, were arrested and are charged with trafficking and child abuse based on strong testimony of some of the 31 victims.

The web-cam internet investigation, carried out by Tony Smith and Angus Crawford of the BBC shows that these paedophiles not only have thousands (one had 4 million) indecent images of children on their computer hard drives but pay gangs in the Philippines to get children to perform sexual acts online for them to watch. They traveled around the Philippines interviewing police, victims and social workers helping the children. Their next report will be to investigate the companies that allow this to happen and enable and abet the crimes against children through the internet.

The report that caused international reaction showed that even some relatives and parents of the children allowed them to be trained to perform so as to earn money. The report showed cyber-dens in Cebu city slums where poor children are the most exploited. Some people think that such acts before a computer-connected camera will do no harm as the customer is far away but one child victim said that it makes them loose their dignity, innocence and purity. In other child web cam crimes, the children are not alone and sex acts between young boys and girls are ordered up.

The children are persuaded that it is just play and fun, but this is severely damaging to children. Besides, the criminals doing this use the web-cam sessions to make child pornography which they transmit across the internet for money to paedophile who will pay for it.

It is clear also that web-cam crime against children is a warm up for sexual assault. The paedophiles soon get so aroused, they will abuse children in their own locality. This is not an evil done far away against Filipino children only but it is putting the children, where the paedophile is residing at greater risk. It is estimated that thousands of children are abused in this way.

Philippine police blame the Internet Server Corporations and cell phone companies for flouting the anti-child pornography law which mandates filtering of child pornography and any sexual images of children or illegal content passing through their servers. Republic Act 9775,under Section 9, says “The duties of Internet Server Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers, notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISPs shall install available technology, program or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered”

The National Telecommunications Commission ((NTC) is supposed to oversee this also. The law says the ISPs at fault should pay a fine and have its license to operate revoked for non compliance. But the law is allegedly ignored, flouted and disobeyed. If so, it is a grave injustice to the Filipino people and the children worldwide.

The other child abuse scandal broke last week was that of a wealthy American Evangelist preacher, Tom Randall, and his Sankey Samaritan Mission orphanage house manager Toto Luchavez and son Jake Luchavez. The three were arrested by the NBI agents and charged in the multiple sexual abuse and exploitation of 31 children and youth. The orphanage is in Lucena city, south of Manila. Seven of the 31 victims are minors; three boys and four girls. Those minors and youth over 18 years have made strong statements to rescuers and to the NBI that they were systematically, sexually abused since childhood in the orphanage.

Charges based on the strong sworn statements of the many victims have been filed with the prosecutors. The accused deny all wrongdoing. From the holding cell at the NBI headquarters, they amazingly have access to the internet and cell phones and are organizing a defense campaign on social media Facebook, proclaiming they are being set-up and persecuted by the Philippine authorities. Five previous investigations were allegedly squashed by higher authorities in Lucena city.

The victims say they were abused by the manager and his son and begged Randall to save them but allegedly he did nothing. Police suspect that Luchavez may have secret video evidence against Randall. This has yet to be ascertained. He might try to turn state witness to cut a deal with the prosecutors. Assistant Secretary of Justice Geronimo Sy is monitoring the case. The victims are under the care of the DSWD although they are asking to go to a private care center where they can get help to finish their studies and get professional therapy. This case is a challenge to the Philippine government, the people and defenders of human rights to see justice done for the victims without compromise, bribery, or skulduggery.

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