IN the Philippines, an impoverished nation teeming with mobile phones, computers and other wonders of modern technology, online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is a major problem.
What is revolting and disgusting is that in some instances, unscrupulous parents even peddle their own children, boys and girls, to “online sexual predators,” drawing the ire of the community.
Some sexual predators also make their way into chat rooms and video game sessions to lure children to perform perverse sexual acts on live stream.
A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund showed that one in five Filipino children is vulnerable to online sexual exploitation, according to Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez.
Aware of the situation, the House of Representatives’ committee on the welfare of children will investigate, in aid of legislation, the rising number of OSEC cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a privilege speech, Romualdez, committee chair and wife of House Majority Leader Martin G. Romualdez, underscored the importance of identifying and addressing the gaps on the speedy prosecution of OSEC cases.
The lady lawmaker said the committee hopes to come up with stronger social protection measures that will empower victims and witnesses to report cases of online child abuse and sexual exploitation.
Likewise, Romualdez raised alarm on how the health crisis has worsened the incidence of OSEC given the loss of sources of cash and livelihood of many, and the surge of online activities of minors.
Note that poverty-stricken Philippines, the undisputed “Celfon Capital of the World,” is among the signatories to the landmark “United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Thus, the Philippines continues to come up with various measures and programs aimed at addressing child exploitation and abuse, even mounting a nationwide drive against pedophiles preying on our children.
It’s certainly time for Congress to look deeper into the problem of online sexual exploitation of children in the country.