Six girls and 8 boys in the Philippines were rescued on May 7 after local authorities received an intelligence tip from the Australian Federal Police about a man in Victoria they had arrested in suspicion of child pornography. Australian investigators have worked with its Philippine counterpart in a joint effort to crackdown on the prevalent sexual abuse of children by Australian and other foreign nationals.

According to The Australian, Victoria’s Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team which includes the Australian Federal Police, the recent rescue came after the arrest of 68-year-old Anthony Scott in March. The team was able to execute a search warrant in the suspect’s home in Victoria and found him in possession of child abuse material. 

During the search in Scott's home, investigators were able to seize a mobile phone, a laptop as well as a hard drive. Upon forensic analysis, police discovered records of online conversations of Scott where he had contracted “pay-per-view” child abuse content from the Philippines. 

Australian Federal Police then tipped off the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center to conduct the raid in the specified lair located in the province of Camarines Sur. The children who were rescued allegedly have been forced into sexual abuse on demand by performing in live-sex shows for online pedophiles to feast on via a “pay-per-view”.

The child victims, whose ages range between 2 and 17 were removed from harm and have been placed in the care of a local social welfare office. Photographs of the rescue showed the children being carried and escorted out of the dwellings built on mud floors, and made of bamboo and tin roofing.

The Philippne National Police who raided the seedy sex den seized digital devices containing child sexual exploitation material, a sex toy as well as money transfer receipts from foreigners who had wired money for payment. The PNP’s Luzon Field Unit, supported by PICACC, arrested three women and a man for their roles in facilitating online child sex abuse. 

The investigation on Scott was also linked to the AFP’s earlier arrest of another pedophile identified as Philip John Cooper. Authorities at Melbourne Airport detained Cooper on suspcions of child abuse offenses in Novermber 2019. Upon search of his home, investigators found videos of him engaging in the sexual abuse of girls in the Philippines. 

Cooper was also accused of paying for live-distance child abuse which led to the arrest of a 42-year-old woman in the Philippines at the time for her role as a ­facilitator. Nine children, between the ages of two and 16, were rescued in the Philippines in February this year in connection with Cooper’s arrest.

Live-distance abuse has been a growing online market niche for foreign pedophiles which involves facilitators sexually exploiting children “live online”. Such demand has seen the increase of live-distance sex facilitator activities taken on by impoverished families in the Philippines to supply foreign demand.

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