Seedy sex den hell: Aussie men charged as cops save 13 kids
She is carried gently in the arms of a policewoman away from the seedy sex den where paedophiles paid to watch her being abused online.
Safe for the first time in her young life, the tiny girl in the pink and white singlet was one of 13 children rescued in the city of Zamboanga, which was raided last month by the Philippines National Police.
A woman - the mother, neighbour and aunt of the 13 children - has been charged with facilitating online child sexual abuse, taking money from predators overseas who paid to watch the children being abused.
They were among 23 victims and at-risk children rescued in the month of May in joint Philippines/Australian operations, which have resulted in three Australian men being charged following four separate child sex abuse operations.
Detective-Superintendent Andrew Perkins, AFP's senior officer to the Philippines, told News Corp "collaborative cross-border efforts'' targeting offenders exploiting children in the Philippines should send a strong deterrent message.
"We are committed to targeting offenders involved as abusers, consumers or facilitators in this trade, irrespective of their location," he said.
"Any act to exploit a child for profit is one of the most heinous crime types we encounter and victims may never recover from the trauma and abuse they've been subjected to.''
Police in Australia are following a specific line of inquiry in relation to the children found in the sex den, with charges expected to be laid. The rescued children were seven boys and six girls. The oldest was a young woman aged 19 years. The youngest was a baby boy just 12 months old. Police say all had been abused.
In a separate matter, Brisbane truck driver Kevin Raymond Doyle on Friday faced 75 child sexual abuse charges, alleged to have been perpetrated against 50 children.
Police will allege the 57-year-old Doyle encouraged the procurement of a child to engage in sexual activity on multiple occasions, as well as transmitting child abuse material via the internet, among other alleged offences.
Three children - two girls aged 5 and 14, and a 13-year-old boy - were rescued by police and a woman was charged with facilitating their abuse, including by live-streaming them being sexually assaulted.
Doyle will appear in a Brisbane court again on June 19. He was first questioned in November when he flew into Brisbane from the Philippines, and his phone was seized by Australian Border Force officials.
In a third matter, three girls, aged 6, 11 and 14, were rescued from a home on May 14. The youngest and oldest children are sisters and the 11-year-old their stepsister. The six-year-old was seen carried in the arms of a policewoman from the Philippines National Police as she was taken from the home.
Their mother, aged 34, was charged with facilitating the abuse of the girls. Australian man William Allen Corley, 63, of West Ryde, had earlier been charged with multiple child sexual abuse offences. He will appear in court in Sydney on July 22.
And on May 29, Philippines police charged a woman with being a child sexual abuse facilitator. They also rescued two boys and two girls, aged 3, 8, 15 and 17. An Australian man, Brendan Curt Schulz, 35, of Queensland, was charged with live-streaming child sexual abuse. He will appear in court in Mount Isa on July 30.
The sharp focus on children being exploited in the Philippines saw the Philippines internet Crimes Against Children Centre set up in February last year. It has since undertaken 54 operations, which have resulted in 183 children being rescued, 51 facilitators and suspects charged and three offenders in the Philippines convicted.
Of these, 19 suspects were arrested as a result of referrals from the AFP, and 58 victims were rescued.
Police Brigadier-General Alessandro Abella, Chief of the Philippines National Police's women and children protection centre, praised the collaboration with Australia, and said "it's good to have rescued the 13 children.''
Chief Janet Francisco from the National Bureau of Investigation's anti-human trafficking division, said children rescued from abuse were taken into the custody of social workers, and received psychological support and care.
"Rest assured they are in a safe place and well-protected,'' she said.
Online child sexual abuse, including pay-per-view abuse, is growing rapidly on the dark web, where offenders pay from as little as $15 up to $500 to watch children sexually abused live online.
The Philippines is targeted by Australian paedophiles because English is widely spoken, and it is in Australian time zones.
Police said child sexual exploitation continued to be a significant issue across the globe, with poverty contributing to the rise in the numbers of victims, alongside reliable and easy access to the internet and webcams, and sex offenders anywhere in the world can search online and pay to direct live sexual abuse of children.
Perpetrators are typically based outside the Philippines and Philippines facilitators are typically family and close friends of the victims.
Despite the success of the operations, police say there are significant challenges confronting them as they seek to rescue abused children and catch the perpetrators.
This includes financial information on its own being insufficient for authorities in some countries, including the Philippines to be take action.
Police also face difficulties due to live abuse streams being encrypted. The shows are rarely downloaded or stored, making it difficult to police to access evidence.
The Government seems likely to move legislation giving police increased powers to access encrypted messaging services if tech giants such as Facebook and Apple do not provide greater access for law enforcement.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Seedy sex den hell: Aussie men charged as cops save 13 kids