The Child Rights Network reiterates its call to the public to be on guard against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in light of the spike in OSEC reports and cases amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine National Police recently arrested a 28-year-old suspect of online sex trafficking in Butuan City. She is a close relative and a neighbor of the seven victims and six other children suspected to have also been abused.
She was arrested after she was found to be offering a paying foreign sexual predator a livestream of the sexual abuse and exploitation of the minors together with an adult.
“The sad reality that the suspect is a close relative and acquaintance of the victims highlights the fact that at least 25% of OSEC cases in the country are perpetrated by family members and close contacts of victims,” said Mr. Romeo Dongeto, Child Rights Network Convener.
The data was confirmed by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, which is headed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), in a recently held webinar on OSEC organized by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population Development and Child Rights Network.
The DOJ recently reported that OSEC reports nearly tripled during the months of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mr. Dongeto emphasized the need to strengthen the country’s reporting and surveillance mechanisms of OSEC in the time of COVID-19. He also called on internet service providers and money transfer facilities to develop the necessary technology and mechanisms to shut down OSEC and to start aggressively report cases.
“We have to maximize the internet to intensify our campaign against OSEC, and be cognizant of the implications of the pandemic and the ‘new normal’ in the review of laws related to OSEC,” said Mr. Dongeto.
“We have to declare an all-out war against OSEC in order to resolutely shut down these hideous acts committed against children,” concluded Mr. Dongeto.
The International Justice Mission recently released a groundbreaking study confirming that Philippines has indeed become the global hotspot of online sexual abuse. The study highlights the fact that OSEC victims are very young and are often groomed and abused for years.
Child Rights Network calls on the public to immediately report suspected cases of OSEC through these helplines:
Bantay Bata 163
Landline (toll-free): 163
Globe (toll-free): #163
1343 Actionline Against Trafficking (IACAT)
Metro Manila: 1343
Outside Metro Manila: (02) 1343
Philippine National Police (PNP)
PNP Aleng Pulis Hotline (24/7)
Landline: (8) 532 6690 or (02) 723 0401 loc 5261
Smart: 0919 777 7377
Globe: 0966 725 5961
Commission on Human Rights
Landline: (08) 294 8704
TM: 0936 068 0982
Smart: 0920 506 1194
Child Rights Network
Child Rights Network is the the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines. Its website is at www.childrightsnetwork.ph.