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Four girls rescued in Philippine cybersex raid

MANILA, November 19, 2010 (AFP) – Police have rescued four Philippine teenage girls who were being made to perform sex acts for live broadcast on the Internet, a child rights group that is caring for them said Friday.

A mother-of-two who ran the cybersex business from her home was detained in last month’s raid in Olongapo city, said Robert Garcia, legal officer for the Preda Foundation that is now looking after the girls, aged 14-16.

“The medico-legal findings showed vaginal lacerations and one of them has made a deposition that they were made to perform live shows with sex toys in front of computer cameras,” Garcia told AFP.

The suspect employed eight women, four of them adults including one who had just turned 18, the age of consent, Garcia said.

The 18-year-old is also under Preda’s care, he added.

Chief Inspector Alex Daniel, head of the Olongapo criminal investigation unit, confirmed to AFP that his men had conducted a raid based on a tip-off about a cybersex operation, and arrests had been made.

However Daniel declined to give any further details.

Garcia said Preda, which runs a shelter for trafficked people in Olongapo in the northern Philippines, had tipped off police about a possible cybersex operation in nearby Angeles city.

However Angeles police found out that the business was in fact operating out of Olongapo and notified their local counterparts, he added.

The girls had been trafficked from a nearby town allegedly by a sister of the detained suspect, who had promised the girls, all of them school dropouts, the equivalent of between 20 and 50 dollars a week, according to Garcia.

Father Shay Cullen, an Irish Roman Catholic priest who runs Preda Foundation, said the women’s images were broadcast to customers in Australia, Europe and North America who paid the girls’ employers by credit card.

Trafficking in children for pornography or sexual exploitation in the Philippines is punishable by life in jail.

People who allow their property to be used to commit the crime can be jailed for up to 15 years and meted heavy fines.

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