20 MINORS RESCUED FROM MAKATI CYBER-SEX BARMakati City, June 3, 2003 -- Government agents rescued at least 20 minors who were caught performing "virtual sex" to clients based abroad inside a cyber-sex joint in Makati City. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the minors were communicating with their clients via web-cameras. Also arrested were the "operators" of the establishment identified as Carolyn Uson and Loren Pineda, vice president and manager, respectively, of McBass Inc. The two are now facing charges of obscene publication, violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, child abuse, and procurement of services. Uson and Pineda, however, filed robbery charges against the NBI before the Makati police. Uson and Pineda claimed the establishment they run is an appliance store and NBI agents filched several appliances during the raid which they said was conducted without a warrant. The agents countered the charge, saying McBass has been known for filing "counter-charges" immediately against any law enforcement agency that raids its joint. "We expected this. Other agencies, including the police, have raided their joint and they were all slapped with counter-charges. But how can we have robbed them of appliances when in the first place there was no appliance in the joint we raided," one agent said. Agents said the joint has been operating since the early 1990s, though it started offering cybersex "services" in mid-1990s. NBI Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division operatives seized several computers and video web-cameras when they conducted the raid last Friday. Agents caught 20 minors performing in front of these cameras to "clients" based abroad for $3.99 a minute. The joint accepts payments through HSBC, Visa and MasterCard. "The minors we rescued did not feel they were exploited. They said they were not touched because they would touch themselves in front of the Internet cameras at the clients' request. They were recruited from the provinces on promises of work as models," agents said.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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