Traffickers Switch to Online Exploitation Amidst Pandemic

“As schools are closed and majority of people stay in their homes due to the threat of COVID-19, the incidence of livestreams of child sex abuse has increased,” says a report from a local news channel in the Philippines.

Even traffickers are forced to stay home during the lockdown, and thus, are employing other ways to continue exploiting vulnerable targets.

John Tanagho, field office director of International Justice Mission in the Philippines, said that traffickers connect with sex offenders, mostly from Western countries. Offenders pay traffickers to feed live videos of abuse being done to children as instructed.

In another report, Child Rights Network, an alliance of organizations and agencies in the Philippines pushing for children’s rights legislation, calls for authorities to employ more proactive measures to protect children from all forms of abuse, both online and offline. Tanagho has also pleaded with administrators of online platforms to be more vigilant and regulate materials on their channels to prevent further spread of pornographic content.

With this increase in cybersex crime incidents, and the increase of poverty, it is evident how important our work is to protect the vulnerable. We are thankful for our in-country partner, Honor 1000 Movement, for leading this work in public schools in the Philippines. We know that when this pandemic is over, we will be ready as schools open and the new academic year starts, to continue the fight against cybersex crime in the Philippines.

If you wish to help funding this vital work, simply click below.

 

Sources:
Hernando-Malipot, M. (2 April 2020). Report incidents of child rights violations, advocates urge. Manila Bulletin.
(11 April 2020). Increase in child sex abuse livestreams observed during COVID-19 lockdowns. GMA News Online.

BLESSED PROJECT - STOPPING TRAFFICKING IN THE PHILIPPINES | PHILIPPINES | STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Safer Home and Means of Living

Early in 2019, the slum area where Kara and her family lived caught fire. Kara was homeless so she decided to live with her friends. One of her friends introduced her to a woman who promised to give her a job. Little did she know that the woman would exploit her.




PHILIPPINES | STOP CYBERSEX CRIME | STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

House to House Advocacy

Since schools in the Philippines have shifted mostly to online classes and large gatherings are still prohibited, our partner Honor 1000 found an alternative to continue reaching out to students and parents and raise awareness on human trafficking and online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) despite the pandemic.




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Coming Up with New Ideas

Irene recently joined the Microfinance project. Her small business is selling shoes, clothes, and cosmetics. Because of the pandemic, she was forced to stop taking orders because the businesses selling non-essential goods were banned to operate.




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Rescued in an Entrapment Operation

Issa [name changed for privacy and protection] lived in a cemetery with her family. As the eldest, she felt the burden to help provide for the family. She found a job through a woman she met, but before she knew it, she was trapped and unable to free herself from a recurring exploitation.




PHILIPPINES | STOP CYBERSEX CRIME | STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Battling Cybersex Crime in the Philippines

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.




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Keeping a Positive Outlook

Estrella usually travels to the neighboring city to sell snacks. This is how she supports her two kids. However, as the local government strengthened precautions in lieu of the pandemic, she’s now unable to peddle her goods, which greatly affected her income.