Rescued kids say Australian took their nude photos with parents’ consent

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol August 01,2014 - 09:59 AM

Atty. Vincent Isles (left) of the Children Legal Bureau file human trafficking charges against the Australian National and two parents of the 16 children at the office of Provincial Assistant prosecutor Rusto Presas. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Charges of child pornography and trafficking were filed yesterday against two mothers from Lapu-Lapu city whose offspring were exploited for sex by an Australian tourist.

A teenage sister of one of the young victims was included in the criminal charge filed with the Cebu provincial prosecutor’s office.

“These three are not innocent guides. They were actually active players in lewd operations which lasted for two years,” said lawyer Noemi Truya-Abarientos of the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB).

Over a dozen minors aged 8 to 15 were rescued by police last June 24 from the Cordova Home Village resort where the Australian had invited local children, some accompanied by their parents, as his guests for the weekend.

While 50-year-old Peter James Robinson remains in jail following his arrest, social workers and the CLB continue to document his pedophile activities based on the accounts of the kids he allegedly abused.

“The three women were the ones who recruited the victims. They also posed naked so Robinson could take photos of them,” said the lawyer.

The mothers, who are in their 30s, went to the CLB office a week after the raid of the beach resort, but haven’t been seen since then.

They were charged with violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, and qualified trafficking. These are the same charges filed against Robinson.

CASH PAYMENT

According to the rescued children, Robinson used to take photos of them naked with his cellphone camera. He would also molest them and pay them cash afterward.

Robinson would signal them to start undressing by asking “Want to pic?” according to a 10-year-old girl in her sworn statement about her stay in the resort:

“Around 2 p.m., I went to Rob’s room to follow another kid named “T”. While inside Rob’s room, he told us “You want to pic?” T told me “Dali na kay para makakwarta ta” (Hurry up, so we can earn money). T and I took our clothes off and Rob took pictures of us naked.

“Rob handed an envelope containing P1,000 to T and me. We went out of his room. I gave my money to my mother who was in our room.”

Yesterday, 11 rescued children were brought to the Cebu prosecutors’ office where their affidavits and other evidence were turned over by the CLB and the Department of Social Welfare and Development of Lapu-Lapu city.

The accused mothers and the teenage sibling will be sent a subpoena asking them to give their side and file counter-affidavits.

Based on their replies and other evidence, the prosecutor will either file the case in court for a full-blown trial or dismiss the charges.

CDN is withholding their names to protect the identity of the children.

Robinson, an engineer who said he’s been living in Metro Manila for two years, had been visiting Cebu off and on as a tourist.

He faces trial for qualified trafficking, which is a non-bailable offense, child abuse, and child pornography.

Robinson, who is detained in the Cebu provincial jail, is set for arraignment before the Mandaue City RTC on Sept. 3.

In an earlier interview, Robinson denied abusing the children and said he was just having a vacation in Cebu, when he was arrested.

CLB child rights advocates said they found out that Robinson has been involved in online chid pornography for several years, taking lewd photos of local children and bringing them from Cebu to Manila for visits where he would molest them.

“They are really abused children. We will file more charges against the respondents in Lapu-Lapu City and Manila, considering that these same victims were also exploited in these areas,” the CLB lawyer said.

She said CLB made sure that in preparing the charges, a young victim would not execute an affidavit against his or her own mother.

“We believe it’s a traumatic experience for a child to execute an affidavit against his or her mother. So the testimonies against these three respondents are based on the accounts of other minors, not the respondents’ children or sibling,” she explained.

An 11-year-old girl from Lapu-Lapu city was with her mother in the Cordova beach resort when police staged the rescue.

It was not the first time the little girl was exposed to “Rob”.

In her affidavit, the 11-year-old said said she used to go to a neighbor’s house to have her photos taken naked because she was told to go “para hatagan kag kwarta ni Rob.” (So that you will be given money from Rob.)

An elder girl acting as an accomplice would take nude photos of neighborhood children then pay them P800 or P1,000 each.

“I would give the money to my mother. Sometimes we use this money to buy rice or for my school project,” said the 11-year-old in her sworn affidavit.

She said she first met “Rob” in Dulcinea Hotel in Lapu-Lapu City where she was accompanied by two female friends.

“We were told to go inside Rob’s room. In the room, Rob took our pictures while we were wearing nothing.”

“We stayed in the hotel for three days. Before he left, he gave us P2,000 or P3,000…. I kept seeing Rob at the hotel on several occasions around five times. We were made to do the same things.”

Abarientos said she was deeply disheartened at how parents engaged their own children in pornography to gain money.

“It’s a very sad reality. Nowadays, there are parents who lower their moral standards. Poverty is not an excuse to sell your children. That’s making children earn for them when it should be the other way around,” she said.

Abarientos appealed to parents to consder the well-being of their children no matter how poor they are.

“Please earn decently. Don’t earn at the expense of your children. For parents who continue to exploit their children, please think again,” she said.

She said CLB is coordinating with the International Criminal Police Organization in efforts to curb cyber prostitution./With Correspondent Michelle Joy Padayhag

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TAGS: Anti-Child Pornography, child trafficking, CLB, Republic Act 9775

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