Child pornography in the Philippines remains prevalent (Evil preys silently on poor children)

Child pornography in the Philippines remains prevalent (Evil preys silently on poor children)

child-pornography-philippines

ABS CBN reported that child pornography in the country has gotten worse over the years.

Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) recorded 361 child pornography cases from 2009 to 2012.

It has become a “booming" industry in the country, says Chief Supt. Yolanda Tanigue, director of the Women and Children’s Concern Division of the Philippine National Police.

Child Pornography Records in the Philippines

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NBI rescues 6 minors from Caloocan sex den (2002) According to the NBI, the girls, now under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, were being offered for sex to customers from P800 up. The girls are between the ages of 16 and 18, the NBI said.

In the early part of 2004, the Philippines was rocked by the news of 17 children being sexually abused by three foreign nationals. Aside from sexually abusing them, the foreigners photographed and took video footage of these children in various stages of undress and in sexually suggestive poses. Some of the photographs and video also documented the sexual abuse of these children.

In 2006, advocates pointed out the case of a 44-year-old Filipino mother who sold her five-year-old daughter to undress before her New Zealander boyfriend in front of a web camera. Jedeka Martinez also urged her nieces, aged eight and 14 years old, to undress for P200 per peek.

Northern Police District (NPD) intelligence agents rescued three teenagers from a suspected prostitution den in Valenzuela City last Thursday night. (2006) Superintendent Jimili Macaraeg, NPD-Intelligence and Investigation Division (DIID) chief, said the girls, aged 16 to 17, were turned over to the local social welfare department in Valenzuela yesterday.

A police operation rescued a sixteen-year old Marina (not her real name) and at least a dozen other girls from a suspected “cyber sex den" in Bacoor, Cavite in 2008.

Five (5) minors were rescued during a police raid on a suspected drug den in Malabon City in 2011. The victims belonged to poor families had been lured from Angeles City, Pampanga and promised to have a high-paying jobs by an illegal recruiter.

Seven minors were rescued from a suspected sex den in Sta. Cruz, Laguna in September 2012. The rescued minors, ages 14 to 17, have been turned over to the local social welfare office.

These are just some of the incidents that were aired in the local media. Some of the experts believe that sexual abuse against Filipino children maybe higher than what has been reported by DSWD.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) earlier revealed that the Philippines ranks fourth among countries with the most number of prostituted children.

It is estimated that anywhere about 60,000 to 600,000 street children are victims of prostitution.

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Root Cause of Child Pornography in the Philippines

According to Danica Castillo, the project development staff of Akap-Bata Philippines, child pornographers scout their victims usually in very poor communities.

“They usually talk to the parents and pay in advance. They usually use deceptive tactics. Either they tell them that their children will work as maids or as factory workers. From there, the child is left without a choice but to go with them,” Castillo said.

She added, “Sometimes, older children, usually in high school, willingly approach the perpetrators because they are so poor they are left with no choice.”

They were forced to accept that kind of living because of extreme poverty.

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“Child pornography is a poverty-driven crime and conditions right now leave the people with few choices to survive. Because of these factors, child pornography remains prevalent even if it’s illegal,” said Castillo.

Child Pornography laws in the Philippines

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), “states should undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” and should “take all appropriate national, bilateral, and multilateral measures to prevent:

a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials…” (UN CRC, Article 34)

Previously, Republic Act 9208, known as the "Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act." was commonly used to charge a suspect but in 2008, Republic Act 9775 of the Philppines or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 was signed into law.

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The Anti-Child Pornography Law states:

(a) Guarantee the fundamental rights of every child from all forms of neglect, cruelty and other conditions prejudicial to their development;

(b) Protect the child from all forms of exploitation and abuse including, but not limited to:

(1) the exploitative use of a child or children in pornographic performances and materials; and

(2) the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in or perform any sexual activity or practices, through whatever means; and

(c) Comply with international treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory or a State party concerning the rights of children which include, but not limited to, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 2nd Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Sec. 4 of the law states:

Sec. 4. Unlawful or Prohibited Acts. - It shall be unlawful for a person to commit any of the following acts:

(a) To hire, employ, use, persuade, induce or coerce a child to perform in the creation or production of child pornography;

(b) To produce, direct, manufacture or create any form of child pornography and child pornography materials;

(c) To sell, offer, advertise and promote child pornography and child pornography materials;

(d) To possess, download, purchase, reproduce or make available child pornography materials with the intent of selling or distributing them;

(e) To publish, post, exhibit, disseminate, distribute, transmit or broadcast child pornography or child pornography materials;

(f) To knowingly possess, view, download, purchase or in any way take steps to procure, obtain or access for personal use child pornography materials; and

(g) To attempt to commit child pornography by luring or grooming a child.

Child pornography is a multibillion-dollar industry, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States. It is also considered one of the fastest growing criminal segments on the Internet where approximately one-fifth of all pornography is child pornography.

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Source: PDI news, Philstar news, Manila Times, ABS CBN, GMA news, SunStar news, Arnie C. Trinidad cases study (UNICEF)



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