De Lima welcomes US court ruling vs. man guilty to making child porn in PH

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has welcomed the United States (US) court’s ruling sentencing to over 84 years in prison an American who has pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography involving Filipino minors in July 2018.

De Lima said the Philippine government should take cue from the US in seriously addressing the persistent cases of child cybersex abuses in the country by ensuring that offenders face tough punishment for their crime.

“We welcome the ruling on this case as it gives justice to the three Filipino girls who, at their very young age, were undeniably exploited. He is now more likely to spend the rest of his life in jail,” she said in a statement from detention.

“Cases of child cybersex abuses continue to grow in the Philippines, with some victims exploited by their own family members, despite existing legislations against it. This requires serious attention and response from the government,” she added.

Last Aug. 9, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that 56-year-old Anthony Schultz, a helicopter pilot from Kansas, has been sentenced to 84 years in prison for filming the rape of underage Filipino girls and sharing the abuse online.

Schultz was charged in July 2016 and pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography in July 2018. He admitted to videotaping sex acts with a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old girl and brought the videos back to Kansas, then later sold it online.

Schultz also admitted that he produced child pornography with an eight-year-old Filipino girl with the cooperation of the child’s mother, who has been charged under the Philippines’ anti-trafficking, cybercrime and child protection laws but remains in hiding.

To eradicate the industry of child exploitation through cyber pornography in the country, the lady Senator from Bicol pressed the government to review the implementation of existing laws that protect children from abuses.

“The recent news about Schultz only reminds us that child abuse, this evil, exists and we must vigorously fight to put an end to it by reviewing and assessing the implementation of the laws that are expected to protect our young one from abuses,” she said.

These laws include Republic Act (RA) 7610, also known as Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act; RA 9231 or the Anti-Child Labor Law; RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act; and RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

“Bago pa man lalong dumami ang kabataang biktima ng pangaabuso, lalo pa sa Internet, kailangan na nating kumilos at protektahan sila laban sa mga halang ang bituka,” said De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

In the 18th Congress, De Lima filed Senate Bill No. 621 seeking to protect minors against exploitative acts and other Internet-based crimes by requiring commercial establishments and public institutions to use appropriate filtering devices that will restrict children’s access to harmful materials in the Internet.

When she was justice secretary, De Lima chaired the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking to coordinate efforts in implementing laws against human trafficking, including all forms of sexual exploitation, which resulted in the country’s attainment of the Tier 1 Status in the annual United States Trafficking in Persons Report in 2016.

The United Nations Children’s Fund revealed that the Philippines receives more than 3,000 reports of possible cybersex trafficking cases every month.

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