Online sexual exploitation of children balloons in Ph amid ECQ

Online sexual exploitation of children balloons in Ph amid ECQ

Cases of online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines have increased during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Data from the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime (DOJ OOC) revealed the total of cases recorded from March 1 to May 24 reached 279,166 which is 264 percent higher than the cases recorded on the same period of 2019 at 76,561. From the 2020 record, 132,192 were recorded in March, 53,882 in April, and 93,092 in May.

“The aforesaid increase in NCMEC CTRs is attributable to the fact that during the ECQ, strict home quarantine is observed in all households, and internet usage surges as people stay home,” the DOJ OOC disclosed.

Meanwhile, data from the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) show that within March 15 to May 21, 22 referrals have been received, 10 operations have been conducted which resulted in the arrest of seven individuals and rescue of 34 children have been rescued.

Four suspects are awaiting inquest proceedings while two cases are currently on trial. The DOJ, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Philippine National Police (PNP) already communicated with Facebook management to report pages that serve as platforms for illegal activities on children.

Authorities have known that administrators and members of the said pages change their account names from time to time and are keeping them private. Law enforcement authorities are asking the public to report any information regarding these kinds of exploitation. Following the dialogue between the justice department and internet service providers, DOJ USec. Markk Perete said they “are confident that internet service providers will voluntarily comply with the law requiring them to install technology that will block or filter out materials that exploit children.”

“They know that such a legal obligation is automatically read into their franchises and permits to operate. And they realize, more than anyone, that without such technology, this trend of victimization of children who are the most vulnerable among us will remain unabated,” Perete added. – Report from Kenneth Paciente / ptvnews.ph

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