MANILA – Philippine authorities said yesterday they had detained 11 people in raids on two fake call centre businesses that sold child pornography online to global clients.
The raids came after police said this month the Philippines had become a major source of pornographic content in the fast-growing child cybersex industry, and vowed to crack down on those involved.
The raids took place overnight Tuesday on two Manila businesses that used nude pictures of children, as well as adults, to entice people online to subscribe to pornographic websites, the National Bureau of Investigation said.
"They were caught in flagrante (in the act of wrongdoing)," Ronald Aguto, head of the bureau's cybercrime unit, told AFP, in reference to the 11 Filipinos who had been detained. "Some of the computers contained child pornography as well as adult pornography."
Some of the nude photographs on the computers were of unidentified Filipino children aged about 12-16, Aguto said.
He said the suspects faced potential child pornography and human trafficking charges against the suspects, although authorities still needed to investigate the case further.
Aguto said the business model involved staff chatting online with people overseas, showing them pornographic photos, in a bid to lure them into buying website subscriptions.
The businesses received a commission of $5 for each subscription, and together cleared more than $8,000 a day, Aguto said.
The government pledge to crack down on child cybersex operations came after British and Australian police announced this month they had dismantled a pedophile ring that streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the Internet.
Philippine police subsequently said the country was one of the world's biggest sources of live streaming of child sex abuse, with children performing acts in front of webcams to online pedophiles in an industry worth billions of dollars.
Poverty and the promise of easy money had seen some Filipino parents allowing their children to be abused online for the paying audience, they added.
Aguto said yesterday that authorities had not found evidence of video streaming on the computers seized in the Manila raids.*AFP
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