Europe’s most wanted sex offender caught in Cebu, 8 rescued
CEBU CITY, Philippines – One of the most wanted sex offenders in Europe for child abuse and exploitation was arrested in Barangay Luz in Cebu City following a joint operation by National Bureau of Investigation -Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI- AHTRAD) and the Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) on April 12, 2019.
Nelson Siacor Torayno, 32, was arrested at his rented room where thousands of images, including videos depicting children being sexually abused by an adult, were found in his possession.
Torayno has been producing and distributing child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM) on the dark-web and has abused children in the process.
He faces charges of possession of CSEM with intent to sell, distribute, publish or broadcast, committed through the use of information communications technology.
Partner agencies from the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) – namely, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA), and non-government organization, the International Justice Mission (IJM) – supported the operation.
According to a joint statement of law enforcement agencies involved in the operation, they took time to release to the media the arrest of Torayno due to an ongoing investigation related to the arrest.
The statement said Torayno was identified as one of the most wanted sex offenders in Europe by the the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
During the operation in Cebu, a total of eight children – neighbors and acquaintances of the suspect, were also rescued.
On the day of the suspect’s arrest, two girls presented themselves to local barangay officials as the search warrant was served to Torayno.
They reported how the suspect touched them inappropriately as they walked a narrow alley, and also revealed the suspect’s connections to another 3-year-old boy and his two siblings.
Police then went to the house of the children mentioned and with the parents’ participation, led them to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for assessment.
On the same day, a 10-year-old boy was rescued in the municipality of Liloan, Cebu. The following day, two boys, both 8 years old, were rescued in Iligan City.
Torayno met the 10-year-old boy in an internet shop in Liloan. Without parental supervision, the boy frequented the store to play games, which the suspect would pay for, in order to befriend the boy.
In time, the suspect was able to lure the boy to another location where the sexual abuse took place.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) said in a statement that all children rescued, including five from Cebu City, whose ages range from 3 to 11, had been reintegrated back to their families and would continue to receive trauma-informed interventions.
Lawyer Janet Francisco, NBI-AHTRAD chief, said that Torayno’s arrest was a testament to their commitment and resolve to fight online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC).
“It was a group effort, and a clear demonstration of how collaboration works, to our advantage. Certainly, there are others like him out there waiting for the opportunity to prey on helpless children, but one thing is more certain, that we are likewise waiting for the opportunity to get them!” she said.
Police Brigadier General William Macavinta, PNP-WCPC chief, said he was ashamed that Europol’s number one on the list of sexual offenders is a Filipino, who had abused numerous Filipino children.
“The message is very clear. Regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator or wherever he is, the WCPC will support (those) working under PICACC to ensure global cooperation and response until the Philippines is protected from those who victimize our innocent children using the internet,” Macavinta said.
Lawyer Lucille Dejito, International Justice Mission Cebu director of legal interventions, commended the work of the PNP and NBI.
She also called on Western governments to strengthen sentencing for those, who would create the demand for these exploitative materials.
“By addressing not only the supply but also the demand side of this global crime, governments together can effectively shrink the space for impunity. If there is no demand for OSEC, there won’t be the supply, and children wouldn’t have to be commoditized over the internet in these degrading ways,” Dejito said. /dbs
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