MANILA, Philippines – In observance of the 18th National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Commercial Sexual Exploitation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urged Filipinos to stay “vigilant and united” against child sexual abuse.
DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman said it’s everyone responsibility to work towards the elimination of this growing problem.
“I am looking forward to the day that we will no longer have activities like this because there will be no more victims of child sexual abuse,” Soliman added.
Various activities were held from February 8 to 15 as part of the celebration. These included a policy forum on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in the Cyberspace, and a Fun and Learning Day with Children, organized by non-governmental and student organizations.
A sunset walk in Quezon Memorial Circle on Saturday, February 15 culminated the week-long event.
The awareness week is based on Proclamation No. 731 of 1996, which is meant to raise the consciousness of Filipinos about the reality of child sexual abuse both commercially and domestically. The same proclamation gives mandate to the Council on the Welfare of Children (CCC) to coordinate the implementation and enforcement of all laws, and to formulate, monitor, and evaluate policies, programs and measures for children.
Children need protection
DSWD has handled over 150 cases of web child trafficking from 2010 to 2013. The victims were provided with protective custody, psychosocial, legal, financial, educational and spiritual services.
Child sex trafficking has been further aggravated by the proliferation of child pornography dens operating in the country.
According to a recent study by Netherlands-based Terres de Hommes, online child sex tourism trade is flourishing in the Philippines. The study said the phenomenon remained undiscovered until 2011 when the country successfully prosecuted its first case against a Swedish national and 3 Filipinos.
The relative anonymity provided by a computer screen has allowed sexual predators easy access to child pornography without ever leaving the comforts of their own home. It has also made it incredibly difficult for authorities to trace such crimes. (READ: Int’l police probe PH child sex abuse ring)
This tragic phenomenon affects the lives of thousands of Filipino children, who are either abducted from or willingly given up by their parents, and forced into working in sex dens. (READ: Horror in online child sex abuse village) – Rappler.com
Webcam on a computer screen image from Shutterstock