It must be one of the most heinous crimes of the century, with little exaggeration and one, which went undetected by Filipino police until Dutch Internet investigators found abhorrent and revolting child pornography of Filipino children being sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered on videos on the computer of a Dutch national.
Attorney Janet Francisco, executive officer of National Bureau of Investigation's Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTRAD), said the videos were so "hateful, disgusting, and painful to watch. The babies being tortured and sexually assaulted and listening to their cries could haunt you forever," she told a national newspaper.
This terrible litany of crimes against children with the help of Filipino women who recruit, traffic and abduct children as young as one year old is surely just one crime of many. There are hundreds if not thousands of such crimes un-detected, un-reported and unknown.
They are being committed against the Filipinos by Filipinos and foreign nationals like the Australian Peter Gerard Scully, accused of these crimes mentioned above and soon to be reported by 60 Minutes Australia Channel 9.
These terrible videos are being financed by an international syndicate and distributed around the world. Many pedophiles buy them for large sums of money.
The abusers and criminals choose the Philippines to make child pornography and "snuff" videos because the rule of law is practically non-existent when it comes to child protection and conviction of abusers. Take for example the 2009 Anti-child Pornography Law. It explicitly requires the Internet Server Providers (ISPs) like Globe, PLDT, Smart and Sun to install filters and blocking software to stop access to child pornography. But they don't obey the law.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and other bodies seem helpless or benignly unwilling to inconvenience the powerful ISPs to enforce the law. Some claim there are "captured regulators" at the NTC.
If they were to follow the straight path of President Aquino the law would have been implemented already and there would be less evil filth of horrific crimes coming in and out of the Philippines and circulating around it via the Internet. Youth are now exposed to this evil content on their mobile smart phones and they are being corrupted daily. The ISPs and corrupt officials are responsible for this too.
Police and social workers lack training, knowledge of the law, know-how and the bold courage and commitment to investigate reports, tip-offs and complaints of child abuse. Prosecutors and judges are favoring the abusers more than the victims, court records would show. As one fictional prosecutor said, "Why work hard and prosecute the child rapist and make enemies of his family? They will pay me to do nothing."
The moral ethic and motivation of duty bearers to do the right and good thing seems to be lacking in some. Absent too is the love of justice and concern for the victims. In Olongapo City, one judge seems expert in dismissing cases of rape of children and allowing the rapist to go free despite strong and convincing testimony of the victims and evidence of guilt.
The Church is to be held accountable also as the authorities have never turned over a clerical child sex abuser to the civil authorities. Not even one has been convicted. They are simply shipped off to dioceses abroad in some cases. When they abuse abroad and are investigated they rush back to a hideout the Philippines. International law enforcers have asked me to help locate some.
They destroy the lives of the children and bring disgrace on the good, honest clergy and Catholics and the Church itself. Why are a few allowed to get away with such crimes condemned by Jesus in no uncertain terms in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 18).
The answer may be that some misguided church leaders have not had the courage and faith to stand by the victims and get them healing, therapy and justice and bring the perpetrators to civil justice.
Its time that the people of God and the morally upright clergy and religious start to speak out and point out the abusers in their ranks. Pope Francis has himself shown the way.
He heard about clergy who abused altar boys in Spain. He himself called up the victims first to pledge help and support. Then he called up the bishop and demanded the accused be turned over to the police for investigation and trial.
They rushed to prostrate themselves before the altar in the Cathedral to beg for forgiveness. They had best repent first, confess and do penance behind bars and then hope for forgiveness. Jesus said its better for a millstone be tied around the neck of an abuser and he or she be thrown into the ocean.
There is no ocean too deep for the likes of Scully and his traffickers, co-torturers and abusers for the many heinous crimes of rape, torture and abuse of little children as young as one year old. The screams we can imagine ought never leave our memories and motivate us to act for justice for children. The authorities who turn a blind eye to all of this on the Internet and in the cybersex and torture chambers need to repent too this Lenten season. The good need to be better and act in anyway they can to protect children and bring abusers to justice.
Rev. Shay Cullen is a co-founder of PREDA.org - a nonprofit dedicated to ending the exploitation of children.