MANILA, Philippines – With their leading law enforcement agencies, the Philippines, United Kingdom, and Australia launched the first international center to battle online sexual exploitation of Filipino children.
The countries inaugurated the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) inside Philippine police headquarters Camp Crame on Wednesday, February 27, with a ribbon-cutting and agreement signing ceremony.
The program was headlined by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, and UK National Crime Agency Asia Pacific Commander Mark Bishop.
"With the rapid rise of technology, the online exploitation of children is increasingly becoming prevalent in the country," Albayalde said in his speech.
Just a day before the program, in fact, two young girls were rescued from their own mother who subjected them to online sexual exploitation in Caloocan City.
HAPPENING NOW: PNP chief Oscar Albayalde and Australian ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson lead the inauguration of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/UnU7BJ9lJp — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) February 27, 2019
The PICACC is envisioned to be a center for cooperation towards rescuing children from sexual exploitation, trafficking, violence, and other crimes. It so far includes the following agencies:
The center also includes global human rights organization International Justice Mission, which has focused on curbing online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines.
The center was also established because most online child exploitation cases involve Filipino children and men from other countries. During the partnership signing ceremony, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz even acknowledged that a "string" of perpetrators have so far been Australian.
PNP chief Albayalde also pointed out that in many cases, children were sexually violated by or because of their own family members. With the center, he said he hopes to quickly save more children from criminals and even their own families.
"With this collaboration, we are now assured of a stronger campaign against crimes against children.... This will also give us the opportunity for more enhanced international relationships and fuel the collective effort against online exploitation of children," Albayalde said. – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.