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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Filipino survivor’s testimony leads to French sex offender’s conviction

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – A 14-year-old Filipino survivor of livestreamed child sexual exploitation testified against a French sex offender, leading to his conviction on May 5, 2022. The French national had travelled to the Philippines to sexually abuse her in person and also livestreamed her abuse on the dark web.

On May 3, two days before a French court sentenced the offender, who goes by the name Jordy59, to 15 years of imprisonment, Jennifer* (not her real name) gave her testimony through videoconferencing from the French Embassy in Makati City.

The Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) coordinated with the French authorities and the Department of Justice – Office of the Chief State Counsel for the survivor’s testimony to happen. Jennifer* traveled roughly 300 kilometers from Aurora Province to Makati City, accompanied by her mother and female officers from the WCPC.

“The conviction of a French offender, who abused a Filipino minor both online and in-person, is a perfect example of how global coordination can bring victims of exploitation to safety and their perpetrators to justice. May this be another warning to criminals and would-be perpetrators that wherever they may be, once they abuse and exploit children, they will not get away with it. Philippine authorities are committed to doing our part in ending this vile global crime of child abuse and exploitation,” said Police Col. Maria Sheila Portento, Chief of the WCPC – Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division.

“Jennifer* made a strong impression on the French prosecutors, judge, ambassador, and staff at the embassy. They were all moved deeply by her story. The online sexual exploitation of children transcends national boundaries. Therefore, combatting this crime type requires cross-border cooperation. This conviction shows that when law enforcement and judiciary between countries work together, justice is unstoppable,” said IJM Manila’s Head of Prosecution Development, Atty. Kathleen Piccio-Labay, who served as Jennifer’s* legal counsel.

French news report described the French offender to be a 51-year-old restaurateur who sexually abused a young girl in the Philippines between 2015 and 2017, and then shared the videos on the internet.

On July 27, 2018, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court in the Philippines also convicted the Filipino trafficker, Jennifer*’s own uncle, who facilitated for the French offender’s abuse and exploitation of her in person. He made first contact with the French offender on the dark web, and from there arranged for the latter’s in-person abuse of Jennifer*.

The local perpetrator, who happened to be a public-school teacher, was sentenced to life imprisonment for Qualified Trafficking. It was the fastest conviction in a full trial for a case of online sexual exploitation of children, with the conviction achieved only four months after the suspect’s arraignment. Operatives from the PNP WCPC arrested the local perpetrator on September 27, 2017, following referrals from the Australian Federal Police and the French authorities.


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