CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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A big victory for exploited children

Mr. AB was convicted after a nearly four-and-a-half year trial. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and got off lightly with time served. He is a national of the United States of America (US), recently convicted of child trafficking and child sexual abuse in a court in Olongapo, the Philippines,. 
 
He may yet be tried in his own country on other charges for violating an extraterritorial jurisdiction law that targets US nationals suspected of being involved in any way with human trafficking or the sexual abuse of minors in countries outside of the US. 
 
He ran a sex bar in Subic named the Crow Bar, then changed to Avila’s, where minors as young as 14-years-old were sexually assaulted. He admitted in a television interview acts that are crimes against children. See The Raid on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xRCk8Ni-cs.
 
Retired undercover foreign law enforcement agents conducted surveillance work in the bars around Subic and Olongapo City, gathered evidence and discovered his sex bar operation.
 
Preda social workers confirmed that there were minors in the sex bar, contacted the children, prepared them to be rescued and protected them in a therapeutic home for abused girls. It was a resounding success. Agents from the Philippine’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted the rescue with Preda and government social workers. 
 
During the trial, Mr. AB’s supporters and customers tried to blacken the name of the Preda Foundation for protecting the child witness and enabling her to testify. One supporter, Mr. DK, got a witness to retract her testimony for money but she thought better of it later and realised that she had been manipulated. He committed an obstruction of justice. 
 
These men and their sex mafia supporters were soundly defeated with the conviction of Mr. AB.
 
They are infuriated and angry with the Preda Foundation (www.preda.org), a children’s charity for saving, protecting and empowering the children to give the testimony in court that led to Mr. AB’s conviction. He had to pay a big fine and compensation. 
 
The conviction was a resounding statement that the sex bar operators, along with their supporters and customers are part of a criminal conspiracy to abuse children. By opposing the conviction and supporting the convicted, they approve his crime.
 
Foreign suspects in the Philippines, some permanent residents whose names have been given to the authorities, are under surveillance and watched and will be arrested once evidence is found against them. There are some retired, foreign law enforcement personnel still conducting the surveillance.  
 
They target the foreigners operating sex bars and their supporters and customers. The sex mafia has launched another black propaganda attack on the Preda children’s charity and against the author of this article. 
 
They are angry and frustrated at being challenged by children’s charities for their sex crimes against minors, which some of the paedophiles and sex tourists consider it their right to do.
 
They hate being called to account and exposed for their crimes against Filipino children. The public will know these foreigners because they falsely accuse charity workers and spread false allegations over the Internet against those brave people who defend the abused children.
 
That’s the biggest mistake they can make. Coming under attack by the sex mafia is a badge of courage and bravery for the charities protecting children and fighting for their rights. The charities receive international humanitarian awards and greater support as a result. It shows just how much success has been achieved against the sex mafia.
 
It is poverty that makes so many children vulnerable to the foreign sex paedophiles. Seven-year-old Jessica is one of 5.2 million suffering from extreme poverty in the Philippines. Out of a dangerously large population of 103.2 million people, she was just one of the millions of unlucky children who missed out on escaping the total abject poverty of so many poor children and adults in a country that is growing richer.
 
Jessica missed out and, while 3.7 million Filipinos were lifted into a less extreme form of poverty, 9.5 per cent still suffer hunger and deprivation. 
 
Let’s not forget 5.2 million are still living in poverty. Jessica is among them. It is this poverty that drives children onto the streets and encourages sex tourists, bar operators and their customers and defenders to roam freely with impunity and abuse these children.
 
She was an abused child and was in grave danger of being sold into a cybersex den. It turned out that Jessica’s mother and female partner had no love or respect for her. She was repeatedly scolded and cursed and beaten. This caused psychological hurt and trauma. 
 
She was brought to the Preda Home for Girls and immediately given care and medical attention. Jessica has been saved from life on the streets and from traffickers and sex bars and has a positive life ahead. She is just one of almost 70 children in the care homes of Preda and many more are being helped in the community. 
 
Jessica is now relaxed and comfortable at the Preda children’s home and has recovered in the previous five months. She has gained weight, is healthy and playful. She has made friends in the Preda home and is part of the family. 
 
A great success on top of the victory over the traffickers.
 
 
Father Shay Cullen
www.preda.org