The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) may not have high-tech computer
models to catch cybersex criminals, but it has proven espionage techniques that result in arrests.
Ronald Aguto, head agent of the NBI Cybercrime Division, told GMA News Online in a phone interview that while they may not have the same capabilities
as Terre des Hommes, they have a group specializing in entrapping crooks who exploit minors.
Terre des Hommes, an international children’s rights group, has helped log details of 1,000 alleged Internet sex offenders with the help of a computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina ‘girl’ named Sweetie. The information
will be forwarded to the International Criminal Police Organization.
Aguto noted that most of the culprits they catch in the country are producers, not consumers, of child pornography.
Because of this, undercover agents have to identify both victim and producer in their operations.
In order to do this, agents pose as minors on certain forums to extract information by reading through the profiles and posts of those who solicit their services. They also try to identify the victims and their exploiters this way.
From there, they track
the IP addresses of the posters through constant observation. This electronic surveillance eventually yields the location of these posters.
Information may also come from their foreign counterparts. Aguto said material seized in the raid in the US, for example, is analyzed for information on its origin and its distributors. If the Philippines is the source of the illegal pornography, intelligence
is passed on to local law enforcement.
These dossiers never have exact identities in them. Instead, the locations of targets are handed over. Once investigators find their marks, warrants are filed, and they conduct a raid.
The recording equipment found in the raided dens–usually laptops, webcams, and microphones–are then analyzed for more information.
Information on transactions, dates of recording, and actual footage, can serve as evidence for prosecution.
Aguto said ensuring the safety of youths involved in cybersex is a priority during operations. Agents initiate contact with children used by their parents or relatives, shelter them, and file cases against the culprits to prevent further abuse.
For recruited children, the Department of Social Welfare and Developmen
t is called in to provide counseling and rehabilitation, especially when victims are minors who are 10 years old or younger.
Aguto noted that most youths rescued in their operations were too young to comprehend their actions. Instead,he said, they only saw the money they would get for the acts.
The NBI head agent reported that their operations managed to track two major operations
in the country in 2013 alone.
While he disclosed that one of the operations was in Mindanao, he refused to provide details on the other, as the NBI is still on the case.