Philippines Court Sentences US Man to Life for Child Sex Abuse, Sale of Abusive Content

Philippines is the world's leading source of online child sexual abuse, where endemic poverty and high-speed internet connectivity facilitate the crime.

A Philippines court has sentenced a U.S. national to life imprisonment for sexually exploiting Filipino children through a webcam and selling their pictures and videos to buyers online. David Timothy Deakin, who lived in the Philippines since 2000, was found guilty of qualified human trafficking.

Deakin was arrested in 2017 in a police raid at his two-bedroom flat, situated near a red light area in northern Pampanga province. Officers of the National Bureau of Investigation who led the raid found children's underwear, toddler shoes, bondage cuffs, meth pipes, cameras and several hard drives. The raid led to the seizure of the largest amount of digital evidence related to online child sexual abuse in the country, NBI official Janet Francisco said.

The Philippines court declared Deakin guilty of qualified human trafficking and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He has been ordered to pay a fine and compensate the victims. The ruling took place online on Tuesday, due to novel coronavirus. Initially from Peoria, Illinois, Deakin grew up in a splintered family. He worked as a roofing contractor in his 30s, which is a seasonal work providing him with a lot of time in winters. He learned computers and went to the Philippines in 2000 for a job of setting up internet service providers.

Reaction to the Court's Judgment

Child Abuse
Representational Image Pixabay

On Deakin's conviction, Francisco said this will serve as a strong warning to other offenders that they cannot evade punishment "if they commit sexual exploitation crimes in cyberspace" as law enforcement agencies worldwide are collaborating to nab them, Associated Press reported.

The U.S.-based group International Justice Mission (IJM) welcomed the discussion "because he won't be able to victimize anyone anymore". IJM's social workers helped in the rehabilitation of eight of Deakin's victims.

Philippines: Leading Source of Online Child Sexual Abuse

The group released a study last week in which the Philippines topped the list of being the largest source of online child sexual exploitation. A shocking detail revealed in the study is that in almost all cases, parents or relatives directly facilitate the abuse. Widespread poverty coupled with fluency in English and good internet connectivity has led to the country becoming the hotspot of online child sexual abuse.

Pedophiles sitting as far as in the U.S., Canada, and Australia pay facilitators to sexually abuse children. The crime has risen since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in the country, the Manila-based Child Rights Network warned last month.