Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Working Together to Keep Filipino Children Safe

In an office within the Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters, a group of specially trained law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies are working hard to track down, investigate and coordinate raids to stop and prevent the online sexual exploitation and abuse of Filipino children. In the glare of high-tech equipment, they scour the deepest darkest parts of the internet, gather intelligence from global law enforcement agencies and tips from the community to identify perpetrators of this abhorrent crime and remove victims from harm. They are part of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC), a collective global law enforcement effort to combat online sexual exploitation of children.

In February 2019, the PICACC was launched formalising collaboration between the Australian Federal Police, PNP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the United Kingdom National Crime Agency and the International Justice Mission. The PICACC is increasingly used by Filipino agencies and foreign law enforcement generating significant investigative referrals and leading to increased operational outcomes, including arrest of perpetrators and rescue of hundreds of online sexual exploitation victims. Australian referrals have led to a significant portion of the overall PICACC arrests and rescues achieved to date.

PICCAC

Australian and Philippine officials launch the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre

Tightening the net for abusers, the international collaboration has led to arrests of high-priority suspects, including an Interpol high priority target, Nelson Toyrano, for producing and distributing original child abuse material. This was the result of an Australian Federal Police-facilitated referral which led to a collaborative Philippine law enforcement response resulting in his arrest and subsequent conviction by the Regional Trial Court in Cebu.

PICCAC2

PNP & NBI present evidence to the Regional State Prosecutors Office, Cebu City with arrested suspect Nelson ‘Raheli’ Torayno present in handcuffs.

Australian Federal Police Manila Detective Sergeant Graeme Marshall said, “This case demonstrates the significant advantages of a collaborative international law enforcement effort to protect children. The suspect was notorious in producing and circulating abhorrent child exploitation material in paedophile chat rooms that are not visible to search engines. Philippine children are now safer as a result of this conviction.”

The Australian Federal Police works globally to protect children by bringing sexual abuse perpetrators to justice, and rescuing children who are victims of online sexual exploitation. During its 35-year presence in the Philippines, the Australian Federal Police has collaborated with partner agencies across various crime types with an increasing focus on protecting Filipino children from sexual abuse, by countering its recent and rapid growth.

PICCAC3

Philippine National Police process an online sexual exploitation of children crime scene.

PICCAC4

A facilitator of online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines is arrested after a joint investigation by NBI and PNP, supported by the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre and the Australian Federal Police.

Bayanihan to Protect Children

Following this success, the Australian Federal Police sponsored a Philippine law enforcement senior delegation visit to Australia. Representatives from the NBI, PNP and the Anti-Money Laundering Council received briefings from various Australian agencies working to counter online sexual exploitation of children. The visit reinforced the value Australia places on collaborative approaches between law enforcement, Government and the non-government sectors to child protection.

Subsequently, the Australian Federal Police sponsored an investigator exchange program that enabled PNP Officers and NBI Agents to visit the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation and for an embedded period with Australian anti-child exploitation investigation teams across the country. This built relationships and understanding of our cross-border operating environments to facilitate closer engagement, which is particularly relevant to investigations of online sexual exploitation of children .

Further initiatives include the Australian Federal Police becoming a partner of the SaferKidsPH Program from 2019 to 2025. The program commits funding to raise public awareness on online sexual exploitation of children, support victims, and enhance the law enforcement and judicial response.

PICCAC5

Australian Federal Police Manila Senior Officer Detective Superintendent Andrew Perkins, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO, the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr Sharman Stone, and other DFAT SaferKids PH delivery partner representatives from UNICEF, Save the Children and The Asia Foundation at the SaferKids PH launch

During Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr Sharman Stone’s visit to the Philippines, she attended round table meetings with key child protection interlocutors in Manila and Cebu, to showcase the collaborative approach taken to combat child exploitation in the Philippines. These meetings involved the Australian Federal Police, PNP, NBI, IJM, NCA, Cebu Regional State Prosecutor, Children’s Legal Bureau and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

As part of this visit, Dr Stone went to a DSWD shelter in Cebu, which housed children who were OSEC victims rescued with the help of the Australian Federal Police and PNP. The DSWD shelter is fitted with furniture and specialised video recording equipment used to conduct child-friendly victim interviews for online sexual abuse investigations, donated by the Australian Federal Police. Australian Federal Police Manila also utilised the visit to present clothing from Australian charity Uniform4Kids, and toys from an Australian Federal Police toy-drive, to further support DSWD victim aftercare efforts.

PICCAC6

Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr Sharmen Stone, Australian Federal Police Manila Liaison Officer Detective Sergeant Graeme Marshall, DSWD Regional Director Shalaine Lucero and DSWD Counsellor Brenda Abilo with Australian Federal Police-funded victim interviewing equipment.

PICCAC8

Australian Federal Police donated clothing and toys for the DSWD shelter in Cebu, Philippines

Some of the Uniform4Kids children’s clothing gifted to the DSWD shelter. This clothing is made from re-purposed police and other emergency services uniforms. A card is attached to each clothing piece from an emergency services officer stating which uniform that clothing piece originated from.

Australia recognises that Australian paedophiles continue to prey on Filipino children via the internet. In the spirit of mateship and bayanihan, we will continue to support Philippine law enforcement capability, to ensure Filipino children are protected, perpetrators are arrested, and the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre continues to evolve into a regional centre of excellence for countering child exploitation.

More Posts

In Maguindanao, new classrooms help realise dreams

Australia brings new classrooms and new hope to the remote...
IMG-20210205-WA0031

Short course, long-term solutions: A Diplomat’s Journey to Help Human Trafficking survivors

Australia Awards Short Course Alumna Vida Soraya Verzosa of the...

48 Hours of Valour: Australian and Filipino Troops Alongside – Korea 1951

Filipino soldiers relieve the Australians after the Battle of Maryang...

Empowering Filipino leaders become global leaders for development

Australia Awards Scholarships equip Filipino leaders with skills, knowledge, and...

Mateship in action in 2020

Philippine Secretary of Defence Delfin V. Lorenzana expresses his appreciation...

Building the Future for Filipino Students

A Story of Public-Private Partnership   In Tarlac City, 139...