Crimes against children

There is no evil worse than that inflicted on innocent, defenseless children by ruthless men and women who sexually and physically abuse them for pleasure and profit. 

Until I had the occasion to speak with the Chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, lawyer Janet M. Francisco, I did not realize the extent of evil men can do to children. She told me about, and gave me a copy of, the Resolution by the Department of Justice, involving an Australian, Peter Scully, aided by his Filipina partner, Liezyl Margallo, who did the most savage acts against children.

The couple would entice poor families to let them “adopt” one or two of their daughters, saying they were looking for children they could care for and send to school. They were able to collect eight little girls, seven of whom were between three and 11 years old, while the youngest was only 18 months of age. They then brought the kids to their rented house. 

Instead of caring for them, they sexually and physically abused them and used them to create pornographic videos of the most perverse kind. The most gut-wrenching video they made, which I read from the DoJ Resolution, was of the 18-month-old baby and titled it, “Daisy’s Destruction.” The baby was hanged upside down, naked, legs spread apart. From that position the accused beat her up in different parts of her tender body; urinated on her; clipped her little breasts with clothespins; and poured melting wax on her private parts. Sometimes the baby’s mouth would be taped to stop her incessant cries.

One of the girls, an 11-year-old, died from the frequent rape, torture and abuse inflicted on her by the accused while being videotaped. When she died she was buried underneath the kitchen floor, a fact confirmed by the NBI operatives who exhumed her body. Before they were videotaped for perverse sexual acts, the girls were either drugged or forced to take hard liquor, sometimes making them pass out. 

These barbaric criminal acts by Sully, Margallo and other conspirators came to be investigated by the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division when NBI’s representative, lawyer Janet Francisco, attended the Interpol Human Trafficking Conference in Bermuda in October 2014. She was shown a series of videos on the “Destruction of Daisy” which had been uploaded in cyberspace and believed to have originated from the Philippines. Upon her return to the country, Francisco immediately reported the matter to her then Chief, Attorney Czar Eric Nuqui. The Netherlands Law Enforcement Unit which investigated the Daisy videos gave the case files to them. After in-depth investigations akin to what we normally see only in movies, the NBI succeeded in arresting Scully, Margallo and their conspirators. Numerous pornographic and sadistic videos and photographs were recovered from them. In June this year, the Department of Justice indicted them for conspiracy in numerous counts of qualified trafficking in persons (which absorbed the crime of murder), rape, child abuse, voyeurism, and child pornography.

The lives, the psyche, the emotional and mental state of the young children victimized by the accused Scully and Margallo are forever ruined and scarred. What is even more saddening is that this case is not an isolated one. There have been, and there still are, many such crimes against children being committed in the Philippines and other vulnerable countries of the world. Francisco said that they have identified the hot spots in the Philippines but their work is tough and riddled with challenges.

Poverty plays a big role as poor families unwittingly give their children away in the hope that their children will have better lives, only to find that their offspring have fallen prey to predators. Still, there are those who knowingly allow their children to be abused in exchange for their economic survival. To my mind, more than poverty, society’s collective failure to raise and develop people with moral values is the bigger culprit in crimes perpetrated against children. This is a task we, as citizens, are all called upon to help in. 

Nelson Mandela said: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.” And according to Kofi Annan, “There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”

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Topics: Crimes against children

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