“Humans are the only animal who can have sex over the phone.” Dave Letterman
By Alex P. Vidal
A 16-year-old minor was among those “arrested” by police in a raid on a suspected cyber sex den in Brgy. Sinikway, La Paz in Iloilo City last July 10.
She was with three other adult on-line sex performers, including house owner Helen Delotavo, 57, when members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDG)-Iloilo swooped down on the unit.
Instead of being “arrested” the girl should have been “rescued” and turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The law exempts minors from culpability in crimes committed by adults especially if they turned out to be the victims themselves.
The girl had no business in that cyber sex den, in the first place. And she was not supposed to be in the police station trying to hide herself from photographers and TV crew who had no idea how old she is.
In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration, as stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The use of minors is rampant not only in dangerous workplaces but also in prostitution houses and commission of crimes.
Sometimes they are used as fronts and decoys to confuse authorities, thus they are exposed to extreme danger especially if they are asked to act as couriers of illegal drugs.
Minors have become the favorite sacrificial lambs of syndicates and the veritable scapegoats of abusive adults.
If they are not forced to sell their bodies, they are used as tools or performers in on-line sex chats with foreigners for a fee or what is now known as cyber sex.
The payment is done via Western Union money transfer through middlemen who act as agents for the den.
The agents are the ones who look for clients mostly in the US, Canada and Europe.
Since cyber sex is illegal, there is no guarantee that the minor performers get their fair share of the amount paid by on-line clients.
In most cases, these minor performers are exploited and hoodwinked. The cyber sex den operators and their agents are the ones getting the lion’s share and laughing their way to the banks.
Sometimes they end up settling for a penny or pocketing only 10 to 20 percent of the actual amount paid by on-line clients.
There were reports that some minors also suffered from maltreatment and other forms of abuse by some cyber sex den operators.
Aside from being shortchanged of their income, they were also subjected to humiliation by being forced to perform lewd acts in front of male clients salivating for their bodies on-line.
Police should work closely with the DSWD or invite their representatives in future raids because there are strong possibilities that they would again stumble into more minors in clandestine cyber sex or whore houses in the cities and provinces in Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, a source from Guanco St., City Proper who requested strict anonymity informed us that there are more cyber sex dens in the City Proper, Jaro, Molo, and Mandurriao maintained by pimps who also operate boarding house or room for rent business.
“It’s easy to locate these cyber sex dens,” said our female informant who lives in Bo. Obrero, Lapuz district. ”If you are a woman and you know a pimp in one barangay and you want to apply as on-line sex performer, you know who to approach.”
Some barangay officials are reportedly aware of the existence of cyber sex dens in their areas, “but like in the campaign against drugs, some of them become deaf and mute when it comes to giving of tips to authorities.”
Many losing internet cafes have reportedly closed shop and dabbled in cyber sex business which is thriving in other places of the country.
“Cyber sex den is easy to operate because all you need are computer sets or laptops and women who are willing to undress and perform sexual acts in front of on-line customers,” added our informant.