A court in Cebu in the Philippines has sentenced an Australian man, Drew Frederick Shobbrook, to life in prison for trafficking four Filipino girls for sexual exploitation, recording their abuse and selling the child pornography online. The girls were also offered to other foreigners for sex.
Shobbrook was found guilty of 4 counts of qualified trafficking in persons punishable under Section 6 of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. On top of a life imprisonment sentence is a fine of P2 million.
He was also convicted of possession of child pornography with intent to sell or distribute, and sentenced to 20 years in prison with a fine of P1 million.
Shobbrook was arrested in 2013 at his apartment in Cebu City after 4 minor girls filed a complaint saying they had been sexually exploited by the Australian national. Shobbrook had the help of Filipino Leslie Ann Fernandez in recruiting young girls and selling videos of them on the internet.
Fernandez was also convicted of trafficking and sentenced to life.
The fours girls say they were promised payment and educational support if they worked for Shobbrook in his houses across Cebu.
International Justice Mission (IJM), an anti-trafficking NGO, said that Shobbrook had exploited 15 girls in total.
“Today’s convictions send a strong message that if you sexually abuse and exploit Filipino children online and create child pornography you will be convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Whether Filipino or foreigner, all perpetrators of human trafficking for online sexual exploitation of children should be held accountable under Philippine law,” said lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu’s field office director.