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Case of child trafficking against a Belgian thrown out

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Belgian man’s child abuse charge dismissed by Cebu judge
JULY 30, 2018 BY M G MARTIN 3 COMMENTS
Koen
Koen Van Den Broek and the dismissal order, closing the case against him.
A Belgian man who was accused of trafficking and abusing children has seen the charges against him thrown out by a Cebu court.


 
Koen Van Den Broek was was arrested on suspicion of trafficking children at Cebu’s South Bus Terminal last December 26. He was in the company of a 13-year-old girl, her nine-year-old brother, a three-year-old girl and her four-year-old brother and two aunts aged 18 and 19. 

The group were about to depart for a family vacation in Moalboal, and were due to be joined by a mother of some of the children en route.

His detention by police and personnel of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) was despite the adults already in the group protesting his innocence.

Immediately after the arrest, other members of the family rushed to the police station to defend him, telling officers he had been a close friend for many years. They also contacted PLN, which published the sole media report to raise questions about the arrest.

Soon after, a trafficking accusation against him was dropped by a judge, only to be replaced by a charge under Republic Act 7610. By this law, the presence of minors in the company of an older, unrelated, person is considered prima facie evidence of trafficking and abuse.


Koen vowed to fight charges

 
Koen was able to pay bail of 120,000 pesos and leave the Philippines for Switzerland. Despite being safely beyond the reach of Philippine law, he vowed to fight the charges and clear his name.

Months of postponed court dates and wasted hearings attended by his attorney followed, before a judge finally dismissed his case last Thursday (July 26).

Speaking to PLN over the weekend, Koen said he had mixed feelings about the outcome. “Being happy is a difficult thing. The case is dismissed and that is not the same as being able to really prove my innocence.

“The reason for dismissal was because the woman from IACAT didn’t show up on any of the court dates.

“The way this was dragged through the courts is ridiculous. They could see from the beginning that it was a mistake, so why did it take months?”

Asked about Republic Act 7610 he said: “It’s so stupid to have to ask for official permission to go to public places like the beach or port or bus terminals with kids you have known for long time and try to give them some vacation.”

‘Something inside me is broke’
Although he was spared the horror of being jailed during his ordeal, he said it had nonetheless been traumatic. “Too many things happened since I was arrested. Some friends and family believed what they heard, and total strangers from all over the world wrote bad things to me in messenger.


 
“Something inside me is broke and I don’t know if it can ever be healed again.”

Asked whether he would return to the Philippines, he replied: “At the moment I don’t really know what to say. It has already affected my ability and willingness to visit the Philippines.” 

However, he said he would be heartbroken to lose contact with the family he had befriended. “From the very first moment I went there I started supporting the mother with the three young kids who were with me in the bus terminal — especially the youngest, Kolette, who is four now.

ALSO READ:   Belgian man taking family on day trip accused of child trafficking
“I still want to go there as much as possible to see the little Kolette growing up. But the whole story around it now makes it so difficult.”

He also said that when the allegations were first levelled at him, the domestic press seemed to take his guilt — being a ‘foreign national’ — for granted. 

“But now that I am proved innocent, nobody but you cares,” he added.

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Maybe some common sense at last although way too late.
 

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2 hours ago, sonjack2847 said:

“But now that I am proved innocent, nobody but you cares,” he added

That is true everywhere.  We are taught "where there is smoke there is fire" and even when proven innocent the "smoke" is still there.  The man has my sympathies but I, along with many others, will always wonder why the authorities arrested him in the first place?  It is rare to do that without cause or complaint/

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1 hour ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

That is true everywhere.  We are taught "where there is smoke there is fire" and even when proven innocent the "smoke" is still there.  The man has my sympathies but I, along with many others, will always wonder why the authorities arrested him in the first place?  It is rare to do that without cause or complaint/

We will never know the whole story

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2 hours ago, sonjack2847 said:

We will never know the whole story

Or we do and it's just another case of someone completely innocent wrongly charged? 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, hk blues said:

Or we do and it's just another case of someone completely innocent wrongly charged? 

Something fishy about this story.:shades: Anyone who is anyone knows not to insert themselves into a position of vulnerability involving children. The age of everyone was stated except for the man.:89:

Edited by Arizona Kid
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9 minutes ago, Arizona Kid said:

Something fishy about this story.:shades: Anyone who is anyone knows not to insert themselves into a position of vulnerability involving children. The age of everyone was stated except for the man.:89:

To be fair AK, whenever stories of grown men and young children appear there is an immediate assumption of guilt, no smoke without fire etc etc.  We don't know the facts at all, but there were other adults in the group so it's not like he was alone with the younger children.  As to why his age was not mentioned, that's hardly his fault and we should not make any assumption of anything based on that.

All we know is he was freed by the judge and that's good enough for me!  

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3 minutes ago, hk blues said:

To be fair AK, whenever stories of grown men and young children appear there is an immediate assumption of guilt, no smoke without fire etc etc.  We don't know the facts at all, but there were other adults in the group so it's not like he was alone with the younger children.  As to why his age was not mentioned, that's hardly his fault and we should not make any assumption of anything based on that.

All we know is he was freed by the judge and that's good enough for me!  

I concur, however there is a faint fishy smell that I can't ignore. Not like the way my GF stinks up the house when she cooks the dried fish, but like someone threw the shrimp heads not far enough over the fence so we couldn't smell it. If YOUR children were involved you might be a little more curious! :ohmy:

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3 minutes ago, Arizona Kid said:

I concur, however there is a faint fishy smell that I can't ignore. Not like the way my GF stinks up the house when she cooks the dried fish, but like someone threw the shrimp heads not far enough over the fence so we couldn't smell it. If YOUR children were involved you might be a little more curious! :ohmy:

I don't disagree with anything in your post, AZ - I guess that's part of the problem the guy is now facing, we all have an instinctive desire to protect our kids and perhaps lose sight of facts as a result.  

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25 minutes ago, Arizona Kid said:

If YOUR children were involved you might be a little more curious!

Considering there was an 18 and 19 which most would consider adults with the group and he had known the family for some time there probably was nothing to be curious about. 

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I remember reading about this when he was arrested and it always smelled like BS to me. I am glad he cleared his name.  But... if he was facing charges - should he have been allowed to leave the country - even if he made bail?  Seems like he should had to stay here.  Again, glad he cleared his name, but the whole story stinks. 

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