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An orphanage is for the care of children not abuse

Two major child abuse stories broke at the beginning of February. The exposé of the deviant criminal behaviour of paedophiles in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia, as well as The Philippines, sexually exploiting children through the Internet has been revealed in a BBC report produced with the help of the PREDA Foundation in Olongapo City.

In Lucena City, an orphanage for poor children and youth, Sankey Samaritan Mission, was raided by the National Bureau of Investigation.

The web-cam Internet investigation, carried out by Tony Smith and Angus Crawford from the BBC, shows that they not only have thousands (one had four 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.

The media team travelled around The Philippines interviewing police, victims and social workers.

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 got an international reaction as it 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 them. 

Besides, the criminals doing this use the web-cam sessions to make child pornography, which they transmit across the Internet for money to paedophiles that pay for it.

It is clear that web-cam crime against children is a warm up for sexual assault. The paedophiles soon get 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 person is residing at greater risk. It is estimated that thousands of children are abused in this way.

The 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.

The National Telecommunications Commission is supposed to oversee this.

The law says the providers that are at fault should pay a fine and have their licences to operate revoked.

But the law is allegedly ignored, flouted and disobeyed. If so, it is a grave injustice to the Filipino people and the children worldwide.

Another child abuse scandal broke recently, concerning 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 police and charged with 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. They, together with over 18-year-olds have made strong statements to rescuers that they had been 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 bureau headquarters, people amazingly have access to the Internet and cell phones.

They continue organising a defence campaign on social media, claiming 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 Department of Social Welfare and Development, although they are asking to go to a private care centre 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.

λ Father Shay Cullen