WILLIAM Shakespeare wrote: “Hell is empty. All the devils are here.”
By here, he could have been referring to a tiny house in Taguig City where 33-year-old Christopher Villanueva was arrested two years ago. He operated a cybersex den in his house where children acted out the sexual fantasies of clients in the United States, Britain, Australia and Japan for a $100 fee. He had sex with some of the children, with ages ranging from 13 to 17, in front of the web camera.
“Come to the Philippines,” Villanueva said to an undercover US agent during an online chat. He offered his American “client” the chance to sleep with the child of his choice for P5,000. Arrested with Villanueva was a mother of three children who made money out of her kids’ online “performances”.
According to lawyer Sam Inocencio of the International Justice Mission’s Philippine country office, most mothers involved in selling their children to cyber sex operators argue that no harm is done. After all, the clients are abroad. There is no physical contact. Their children are safe, and there’s food on the table.
The devil loves the Internet because of its ability to spread evil at full speed through portals that serve as digital red light districts for perverts and pedophiles around the world.
The devil loves the Internet because children and young people of all ages love it, too, and they often surf unmindful of the sharks that follow their every click.
The devil loves the Internet because of the ease in using it to recruit the lost and lonely to do his bidding, from international terrorism to webcam sex rings.
It was via the Internet that a sexual predator by the name of Peter Gerald Scully, a fugitive from Australia, earned thousands of dollars from the distribution of sex videos of children recorded from his house in a remote barangay in Malaybalay City.
Pedophiles around the world were willing to pay top dollar for copies of Scully’s videos. One of the videos, entitled, “Daisy’s Destruction” came with promotional blurbs that read: “Her body will be ravaged. Her dignity stolen.” International police learned about these videos and used its vast international anti-trafficking network to track down Scully.
Scully reportedly defiled Filipino children as young as two years old and below. He tied a 12-year-old and 9-year-old with dog chains, and raped each of them as his video camera recorded their screams and whimpers for international viewing. He gave in to the requests of his perverted clients. In the course of such requests, he allegedly killed one of his child victims.
The devil also loves the Internet because of David Timothy Deakin, a suspected pedophile from the United States who was arrested in Mabalacat, Pampanga. In his two- bedroom townhouse, the police found children’s underwear, bondage cuffs, fetish ropes, meth pipes, and toddlers’ shoes. Journalists Martha Mendoza and Jim Gomez of the Associated Press in their exclusive report on the rising abuse of children through webcam sex, wrote:
“The relatively new crime of webcam sex tourism is spreading rapidly, with new digital technologies sparking what the United Nations calls an ‘alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation’.”
“The FBI says it’s epidemic, and that at any given moment, 750,000 child predators are online.”
“Almost every case stems from the Philippines, where good English speakers, increased internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems combine with widespread poverty and easy access to vulnerable kids. There have been as many as three busts a week there this spring. The youngest victim ever, rescued a few weeks ago, was an infant, two months old.”
The AP report was published on May 9, just two weeks ago.
`We know how much the devil and his “flock” love the Internet. The question is when and how do we, as one nation, start to push back?
For one, we need a national registry of known sex offenders and those with outstanding warrants of arrests here and abroad for sex crimes, so that local governments and immigration agents would be able to run after these pedophiles and their accomplices.
The DILG and the PNP must upgrade the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) into a full-blown national operations support unit with proper training, mobilization funds and equipment. Similar investments must be poured into the NBI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTRAD).
The government also needs to strengthen assistance programs for human trafficking survivors, especially children whose very own parents participated in marketing their bodies and souls.
We need a more vigorous national awareness campaign on web safety and anti-online child sexual abuse, including red flags to detect cybersex sites that may or may not involve Filipino children.
The war between good and evil extends to the digital universe. Those with evil intent no longer need to break in through the front door. All they have to do is go online, and use their anonymity to destroy the innocent, while the webcam frames every scene, in eerie silence.