Mayor Alfred  and other city officials during the press conference with the parents of the victims on alleged human trafficking and child abuse by a 72 year old foreign national in Tacloban. Photo by Henry James Roca
Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez and other city officials during the press conference with the parents of the victims on alleged human trafficking and child abuse by a 72 year old foreign national in Tacloban city. Photo by Henry James Roca

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines-A 72 year old foreign national is now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation and facing charges of human trafficking and child abuse and exploitation after his house was raided over the weekend.

The joint elements of NBI and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) rescued 12 individuals- four male minors ages 14 to 17, seven young men ages 18 to 22, and 1 woman age 22.

It was only on Wednesday that the authorities allowed the public to know about the incident after all the necessary gathering of evidences and witnesses and the filing of charges were completed.

Authorities said the foreign national had been under surveillance for almost a year due to reports on alleged cyber-sex crime activities involving teenagers.

During the investigation, the victims disclosed they were lured in doing sexual and other illegal activities on the internet with other foreign nationals upon instruction due to promises of free education, regular allowances, free board and lodging, and other material things.

Charges were filed before the Regional Trial Court- Family Court in Tacloban against the accused 72 year old foreign national for alleged violations of R.A. 7610 or the Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and R.A. 9208 or the Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

After undergoing medical examinations at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, the victims were also given counseling by the city social welfare personnel at the Tacloban Women and Children Shelter.

The city government thru mayor Alfred Romualdez and councilor Cristina Romualdez also gave financial assistance to the parents and guardians of the victims.

The two officials cautioned other parents to closely monitor their children particularly with their internet activities and when they are in company of strangers to avoid similar incidents to happen.

Mayor Romualdez also called on the public to report to the authorities any persons who posed as “Good Samaritans” in exchange of sexual favors and other illegal acts.