Cebu, Philippines,
04:07 PM

Australian National Convicted in the Philippines, Sentenced to Life in Prison

A Philippine court convicted two traffickers—including Drew Frederick Shobbrook, an Australian national living in the Philippines—for sexually abusing children and posting the abuse online.

CEBU, PHILIPPINES—Filipino police first learned of the abuse in March 2013, when four of Shobbrook’s victims came forward to file a complaint with the Philippines National Bureau of Investigations. Law enforcement quickly mobilized to secure a search warrant. What they found was haunting—Shobbrook had hundreds of child pornographic images and videos depicting his sexual abuse of children.

IJM supported police to coordinate an operation to arrest Shobbrook, as well as the Filipino woman who recruited minor girls for Shobbrook’s exploitation. In the same operation, 15 victims who suffered under his abuse were rescued.

During the trial, three of the rescued survivors shared how Shobbrook and his recruiter would lure children to work in Shobbrook’s house, with the promise of gifts and the chance to go to school. These promises took a dark turn when Shobbrook forced them to perform sexual acts on camera, which he then distributed online. The girls—who were as young as 12 years old—also testified that he would arrange for other foreigners to sexually abuse them. On February 20, 2018, both Shobbrook and his Filipina recruiter were sentenced to life in prison.

Following the news of the conviction, John Tanagho, who leads IJM’s work in Cebu, shared: “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…Today, all 15 victims of Shobbrook’s abuse received justice. IJM applauds NBI and the prosecution and judicial officials involved in this case for administering justice with the utmost objectivity and integrity.”

International Justice Mission protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. Our team has helped local officials combat sexual exploitation and trafficking in the Philippines since 2001.