Aussie tourist charged with child trafficking

Children rescued by police look out a window of the Cordova police station, as officers file a complaint against an Australian tourist who allegedly preyed on them.

CEBU CITY - An Australian tourist is facing child abuse cases in Cebu province after he was arrested for bringing girls to his room at a beach resort and taking lewd photos of the minors.

Peter James Robinson, 51, and a mechanical engineer, was charged with qualified trafficking, a violation of Republic Act No. 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and RA 9775, or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

Aside from Robinson, police also filed charges of qualified trafficking against a 17-year-old girl who purportedly acted as the pimp.

Robinson was arrested on Tuesday at a resort in Cordova town, Cebu, where he brought the victims. Police rescued 11 girls and four boys whose ages range from 8 to 15. Two other minors escaped.

Policemen recovered a laptop, USB and cell phone inside Robinson's room.

Three of the minors executed affidavits claiming that they were asked to do lewd poses while Robinson took photos of them at the resort.

Robinson denied the allegations, saying he didn't bring any minor to his room.

He said he had been based in Manila for two years and had been to Cebu four times for vacation.

"I come to Cebu to swim, drink, eat, etc. This is the first time I've been arrested. I'm confused. I feel outnumbered because I'm a foreigner," he said.

Robinson's lawyer, Ferdinand Dungog, said he would question the legality of Robinson's arrest.

Dungog said being with minors in the presence of their guardians and parents was not a crime.

Lawyer Noemi Truya-Abarientos, of the Children's Legal Bureau, said her office was "seriously contemplating" filing charges against the parents who consented to having their children go with Robinson to the resort.

"At least two parents were mentioned by the victims," she said.