While digital technology has been a positive catalyst during the COVID-19 lockdown in the Philippines, it has also enabled perpetrators to produce illicit materials through the internet and other related media.
Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) refers to any child under the age of 18 used for the commercial distribution of pornographic performances – whether in print, online, or live-stream. This crime is a gross violation of human rights, yet this poses as a reality for many Filipino children. In 2018 alone, 600,000 sexualized materials were bartered and traded in the Philippines, making the country one of the “top global sources of child pornography” according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).1
With the quarantine in force, the sale of child sexual abuse material is likely happening with greater frequency as perpetrators direct the live sexual exploitation of boys and girls while in self-isolation. These cases have always been difficult to track down, but now, we find ourselves in a situation where we must piece together what we can about the online dangers the Filipino youth face today. Symbolic of building a secure house – many of us hold different parts, and each brick holds great importance. Likewise, we may not be able to fully ensure a child-friendly and child-sensitive society unless we work together and share information when possible.
Archers for UNICEF (AU) at De La Salle University, a non-profit student organization working in aid of UNICEF Philippines, aims to start putting these foundation blocks together. #EndOSAEC: Fighting Beyond Borders is an online seminar open to the De La Salle University-Manila community and other UNICEF affiliated university organizations. Join us on the 22nd of August from 3:00 to 5:00 PM via zoom as we learn how our efforts can end impunity for sexual crimes of children and provide justice for those affected through the areas of prevention and protection.
While we have come a long way, the movement against OSAEC continues amidst these challenging times. There is still so much work to do to ensure the same for future generations, but together we could speak out to end sexual abuse and exploitation.
Because by breaking the silence, we are closer to building a safe haven for the children behind every image, video, or screen.
You can register here.
NOTE: An email that contains the reminders and the invitation will be sent before the event.