Philippines is a global hotspot for online sexual exploitation of children, with eight times more case referrals than other countries. The latest International Justice Mission report also showed that majority of the victims are female with ages ranging from 10 to 15 years and some even under 1 year old. Sadly, a lot of the identified perpetrators are the children’s own parents or close relatives.
This information is alarming knowing that a lot of children are staying home due to the lockdown, with potential perpetrators.
Before the lockdown, our partner Honor 1000, completed Online Safety Campaign sessions in selected ‘hotspot’ schools, reaching a total of 950 primary school students. They also recently conducted a community-wide Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign (HTAC), which was attended by 109 parents. These efforts inform both children and their parents on the dangers of online exploitation and how to avoid it and where to go for help if they ever need it.
Several more community-wide HTAC events were lined up, although these were postponed due to the pandemic. These events will resume once lockdown is lifted and communities’ safety from any health risk is ensured.
Source: International Justice Mission, May 2020. Online Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Philippines: Analysis and Recommendations for Governments, Industry and Civil Society.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Over the next months, we’ll see a surge of human trafficking and cybersex crime cases as this current pandemic pushes a lot of vulnerable people into desperate measures. Check out the links below to know how you can help!
You can also sign up for our August 2020 Stop Trafficking 5K event and setup your own fundraiser:
US$50, we can fund one cyber safety training session for 50 students or 30 moms US$500, we can fund one complete cyber safety program for 50 students US$5,000, co-sponsor an entire program for a high-risk school (with over 500 students)
Microfinance Women and Staff Supporting Each Other
Because of the pandemic, most of the Philippines has been placed on lockdown since last year. This has challenged our program to adapt and comply with the health protocols that each municipality has set. We are grateful to have a dedicated team who diligently visits each area and client.
After several months of another strict lockdown in Manila, public schools are getting ready once again for module distribution. This allows us to reach out to more students despite schools being closed.
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.
The journey to sustainability varies for each of the client moms of Honor 1000's Microfinance Program. There are various factors and conditions contributing to this, but one thing remains unchanged and that is the support provided to these moms.
The fight against OSAEC (online sexual abuse and exploitation of children) and human trafficking may be complex and long. But the increased involvement of leaders and advocates encourages us to continue pushing forward.