Tougher against trafficking
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Department of Justice says the Philippines receives at least 3,000 reports per month from other countries of possible cases of its children being sexually exploited online. This gives credence to the claims by the United Nation’s children’s agency, Unicef, that our country is the epicenter of the growing cybersex trafficking trade where many children are forced to perform sex acts, abused and raped by relatives in front of a webcam.
Senator Loren Legarda said that while the Philippines needs better enforcement of its anti-trafficking laws, she is urging other countries to get tougher with the sexual predators that fuel the trade by paying to watch children being abused over the internet.
“Developed countries, from which the demand for online sexual exploitation of children usually originates, must do their part,” Legarda told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. She cited the recent case in Queensland, Australia, where a man was spared jail time and fined only $500 after being convicted of receiving explicit images of two girls from a Filipino mother.
“This calls for amending the lenient sentences that their laws mete upon those who prey on Filipino children … raise the penalties to lower the demand,” she said.
Legarda added that the Philippines must also raise awareness of the crime and the country’s anti-trafficking law to deter abusers, encourage the public to report cases and teach children how to better protect themselves offline and online.
Despite the national embarrassment that comes with the title, the Philippines hasn’t done enough to be dislodged as the epicenter of the growing cybersex trafficking industry. Our country’s officials need to work harder on both the domestic end and with the international community if we are going to protect greater numbers of our poor children from the abuse that is encouraged and funded by sexual predators from beyond our shores but carried out either in their own homes or by people they trust.*