Girl, six, is rescued and her mother arrested over sick abuse videos after a single piece of information from Australian police sparked an international manhunt to the Philippines to rescue her
- Six-year-old girl allegedly sexually assaulted by her mother
- Police have arrested a woman (37) and a man (19) in Manila
- Victoria Police involved in the international investigation
A six-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by her mother in videos sold on the dark web has been rescued after Australian police provided a vital lead.
The little girl was freed from her alleged abusers in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on Sunday after a seven-month international investigation.
Footage shows her 37-year-old mother being approached by officers at a local eatery before being escorted outside to a waiting car.
The woman’s 19-year-old boyfriend was arrested several months earlier after local police searched his home in Manila in November and seized multiple electronic devices.
After his arrest, police identified the child allegedly abused in the videos, but were unable to immediately pinpoint her location.
The breakthrough came this week after a joint investigation by the Victoria Police, the Dutch police and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
A six-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by her mother (pictured) in videos sold on the dark web has been rescued after Australian police provided a vital lead
In early 2022, Victoria Police identified an individual sharing the abuse on a dark web forum and notified the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The videos did not match material in an international database and were believed to have been produced by the same people who sold the videos.
The material was referred to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center and the PNP immediately launched an investigation.
The international agencies were able to work together to identify the woman’s boyfriend and his location, but were unable to locate the child.
Meanwhile, police in Victoria had discovered videos allegedly depicting the same six-year-old victim on another dark website.
AFP agents in Manila then supported the PNP in an undercover online operation in which they attempted to contact the suspected seller.
The little girl was freed from her alleged abusers on Sunday after a seven-month international investigation in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
The research led to a major breakthrough this week. The six-year-old girl is now being cared for by the Philippine Ministry of Social Welfare and Development.
The 37-year-old has been charged with committing child abuse, cruelty or exploitation with the expectation of further charges.
The 19-year-old man has been charged with a range of criminal offences, including a charge of using, persuading, inducing, engaging or coercing a child to perform or participate in acts that violate the law against online sexual abuse or exploitation of children.
He has also been accused of producing, possessing and distributing child sexual abuse and exploitation material.
Police will now examine the seized electronics to try and identify anyone who purchased the child abuse material allegedly sold on the dark web.
AFP Detective Andrew Perkins said there was an increasing demand for child exploitation material from around the world, including Australia.
“Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators,” said Supt Perkins.
The investigation led to a major breakthrough this week with the six-year-old girl now under the care of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development
“This outcome has highlighted the shared commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect children, wherever they live, and to ensure that anyone attempting to harm them is identified and brought to justice.
“We will do everything we can to help the Philippine authorities identify any child victims and protect them from further harm.”
Police Colonel Portia Manalad of the PNP Women’s and Children’s Protection Center said officers are committed to protecting children from “violent sexual abuse.”
“We are committed to finding children who have been victims of these heinous crimes, making sure they are safe and supporting them in the future,” she said.
“The trauma they went through is more than we can see and hear, but we will be their protectors.”