What is Online Sexual Abuse
and Exploitation of Children?
While the internet promises many benefits to children, it can also be the most dangerous place for them. The issue remains to be an alarming global concern, with millions of children having experienced being forced to perform sexual acts online, or being blackmailed for sexual purposes. Hundreds of millions of child sexual abuse materials are also shared and traded on the internet.
In the Philippines, 1 in 2 children is a victim of violence on the internet, according to a goverment study.
The worst form of this violence is online sexual abuse and exploitation.
What is happening?
More and more Filipino children are being abused and exploited on the internet.
In 2018, the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime received 579,006 cyber tips for the online sharing, re-sharing, and selling of child sexual abuse images and videos.
In 2019, 418,422 cyber tips were recorded, but in 2020, we have seen a 260% increase since the start of the lockdown.
Source: From the United States National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
How are Filipino Children Abused and Exploited Online?
The National Study on Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children found that in many cases, poverty was the primary motivation for children and families to get into this situation. Older children are promised education or money by foreigners who want their sexual pictures or videos. Younger children are lured into perpetrators’ homes with candies and chocolates.
Those who are usually from foreign countries
Building the trust and confidence of the children, fostering friendship and nurturing a relationship with them is what you call “grooming.” This grooming is done by “perpetrators” online, those that pay for the videos or pictures of children to be shared and sold on the internet.
Those who procure children to do sexual acts online, usually parents, older siblings, or relatives
Then, there are those people who are close to the children who force or convince them to undress, perform sexual acts, rape or torture them in front of the web camera, and get the money. They are called the “facilitators.” They could be a child’s parents, relatives or neighbors.
This is a hidden crime, unknown to many but experienced more and more by Filipino children in their own homes, in their own families, and communities.
Babies as young as 3 months old were reported to be victims of online sexual abuse and exploitation.
They come from poor communities, and live with their families who are desperate to earn money. These children are forced by their parents, relatives, and neighbors to perform sexual acts in front if the camera.