16 Children Rescued from Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
16 children have been rescued from online sexual abuse and exploitation. Most of them experienced the abuse from their own families and relatives. These children are now safe in our shelter, receiving the counselling and support they need to start rebuilding their lives.
We are thankful for local authorities and our partner organization who tirelessly work to have more children rescued. However, this also goes to show how much impact the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to a lot of Filipino families, pushing most of them to their limits. Unfortunately for some, this meant resorting to illegal and exploitative practices just to survive. In 2020, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of the Philippines saw alarmingly increasing rates of suspicious transaction reports (STR) related to or suspected to be related to child pornography and online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC). Just for the first half of the year, STRs related to child pornography amounted to PHP 113.1 million (USD 2.3 million).
Aside from internet access and the level of proficiency of many Filipinos in the English language, the ease of access to money transferring services such as remittance centers and electronic wallets also contributed to the increase of online sexual exploitation cases. Most of the time, the primary perpetrators of OSAEC are the biological parents (41%), immediate family members or relatives (42%), or adults acquainted with the child or living in the same community as the child.
As horrific as this sounds, it only reiterates the importance of our work in the Philippines, especially in areas considered to be at high-risk for exploitation and human trafficking.
Sources: The Philippine Star and The ASEAN Post
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As young as 9 years old, Elaine (name changed for privacy) was pimped by her mom to customers along the street, and at 10 years old, Elaine started working in bars. She was finally rescued a year after and is now safe in shelter.
In June 2020, International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Philippine National Police rescued a deaf and mute 27-year-old online sexual exploitation victim, together with her children. She was admitted to the Blessed House for immediate care and is now part of Blessed Project’s Sewing Livelihood Program as part of her restoration.