Former airline pilot Michael Carey Clemans got a life sentence for trafficking and raping Filipino children, among other crimes.
On 23 January, an American man was sentenced to life in prison for child sex trafficking in the Philippines, among other crimes.
An Army veteran with no criminal record, Michael Carey Clemans, 57, lived in Bangkok for two years while working as an airline pilot, reports the Associated Press. It was there that he started conspiring with a woman in the Philippines to produce child pornography.
In 2015, when he returned to the US to live with his mother, he would travel to the Philippines to rape underage girls, some as young as 7 years old.
“His true plan was to find young girls, virgins, and then go have sex with them,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andre Espinosa said. “A 57-year-old man doesn’t have sex with a 7-year-old girl — he rapes her.”
Child pornography, trafficking, and rape
Image: Jorge Suarez/Youtube
He targetted vulnerable victims like orphans and victims of typhoons.
Clemans had two co-conspirators in the Philippines: Lyan Tandeg and Shellina Atad. He paid them to produce child pornography and buy girls, paying Tandeg almost $6,000 for equipment she used to photograph naked children.
He would give detailed instructions on how the girls should be posed, how their hair should be cut, even whether they should wear makeup or have their bodies oiled. Then he would decide which ones he would rape when he travelled to the Philippines.
Tandeg and Atad were arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 15-year prison terms in the Philippines.
Investigators found three of the children who posed for photos. They were 7, 9, and 10. The three children testified at Clemans’ trial in Sacramento, California.
Child pornography: A $3 billion industry
Authorities reported that at one point, Clemans had downloaded more than 27,000 child pornography images from over 50 child pornography providers.
The internet has made it easier for abusers to produce and trade child pornography. According to Thorn, 25 million images are reviewed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children every year.
“Advances in technology have escalated both the heinous nature and pervasiveness of these violent crimes that affect the most vulnerable members of our communities,” says US Attorney McGregor W Scott in the US Department of Justice’s official report.
It’s one of the fastest growing businesses online. According to Huffington Post, the industry has an estimated annual revenue of $3 billion.
“Child pornography is the product of horrifically violent acts perpetrated against children who are powerless to escape their attackers,” says Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI. “The victims not only bear the physical and emotional scars of the crime throughout their lifetimes; evidence of the criminal acts that harmed them are shared again and again by consumers of illicit content.
“All children deserve to be safe from harm.”
Child trafficking in the Philippines
Between 1.2 to 1.8 million children are trafficked around the world every year. According to Gava, 60,000 to 100,000 Filipino children are involved in prostitution rings.
The US Department of State 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report states that although the Philippines complies with the highest level of anti-trafficking measures, sex tourism is still pervasive. The industry is abetted by taxi drivers who take these tourists to clandestine locations.
The country attracts sex tourists from Australia, Japan, the US, Canada, and Europe. Filipino men also take advantage of child sex trafficking.
The report states that the most vulnerable to child sex trafficking are children from indigenous communities and remote areas. Some poor families are also forcing their children to perform sexual acts online for pedophiles around the world.
If you suspect an incident of child trafficking in the Philippines, contact Bantay Bata 163 by dialling 163.
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