Filipino children are often forced by their own parents to perform sex acts live on webcam for foreign paedophiles

Children of poverty-stricken Filipino parents are forced to perform sex acts on camera for Australian paedophiles.

The shocking revelation has emerged after 68-year-old Patrick Ronald Goggins, from Victoria, south-eastern Australia, was sentenced to eight years in jail after he admitted to more than 20 child sex offences.

Goggins paid more than $20,000 (£11,675) to watch live sex shows from his computer. Among the children forced to perform for him were five sisters aged five to 15.

The majority of Goggins' victims were from the impoverished area of Cebu, in the south-east of the Philippines.

Goggins' case follows revelations last year from Philippine senator Loren Legarda, who said that in one case, five sisters aged from as young as two were sexually abused in front of a webcam by their own parents.

Authorities in Cebu are particularly alarmed by the surge in online child pornography, which is aimed predominantly at foreign paedophiles.

Last year US Homeland Security launched a joint investigation with Philippine law enforcement agencies to dismantle a cyber-sex operation based in Cordova, one of Cebu's most impoverished townships.

Speaking after Goggins' sentencing, Australia's justice minister Michael Keenan told the Herald Sun that the demand for live sex shows involving children is increasing in Australia.

He also said that paedophiles often explain to parents how their children should perform on camera.

"These are horrific crimes of the most exploitative nature, where children in some of the poorest countries are shockingly abused.

"Law enforcement continues to see a disturbing trend in Australia with offenders arranging to have children abused in countries by third parties and then paying for live streaming of those sexual assaults into their own homes," he continued.

"Online predators...can and will be detected by law enforcement. No area of the internet is immune...and no form of abuse or sexual exploitation of a child will be tolerated."

The Children's Legal Bureau, a Cebu-based child support agency, said it has evidence of poor parents bringing their children to the so called "cybersex dens". Here, parents are paid when their children perform live sex acts filmed on webcam.

Children's Legal Bureau lawyer Noemi Truya-Abarientos said thousands of Filipino children were involved in the cybersex trade.

"These [webcams] are operated by parents with their children and their neighbours' children as performers," she said.

"In home-based child pornography, the families simply put up internet facilities, buy computer units or laptops," she said.

"If the foreigner gets bored with one child, he orders for others to be brought in front of the webcam — this is when the neighbours are being involved.

"Then the neighbours learn the trade and get their own computer units and internet and so on."