Child exploitation

March 03, 2020

THE government should look deeper into the question of online sexual exploitation of Filipino children, given the presence of “online sexual exploitation of children” (OSEC) dens in the country.

But what is certainly “alarming” is the reported involvement of the children’s own family members, like mothers, as crime facilitators, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The UNICEF and the Child Rights Network claimed that a number of factors allow the easy proliferation of OSEC dens in various parts of this impoverished Southeast Asian nation.

They include widespread poverty, Filipinos’ ability to speak English, presence of money remittance centers, lack of resources to prosecute perpetrators, cheap smart phones, and lack of parental supervision.  

In the country, which is one of the world’s major manpower exporters, many parents are employed overseas, leaving their children, including minors, to the care of relatives or maids.

That’s why we commend Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, a nurse and a former beauty queen, for calling on law enforcers to hit hard at OSEC den owners and operators.

“I also urge our law enforcers to work closely with their counterparts abroad and international organizations so that the financiers of these dens are identified and brought to the bar of justice,” she said.

Romualdez aired the call after commending law enforcers who recently rescued eight children and arrested two mothers in a series of police operations against online sexual exploitation.

The lady lawmaker is the wife of House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, a lawyer, and chairperson of the highly-influential House committee on the welfare of children.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of dismantling these OSEC dens and arresting the patrons, including foreign nationals, if we are to ensure the welfare of our young boys and girls.

Of course, the Filipino people expect other elected and appointed government officials, aside from Congresswoman Romualdez, to deliver on their pro-children agenda.