Senate to probe cybersex dens

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

SENATOR Grace Poe on Thursday filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the proliferation of cybersex dens in the country.

"We must never allow our country to become a haven for pedophiles and a center of online prostitution," said Poe, author of Senate Resolution 472.

Poe was enraged over international news reports that the Philippines has become a "cottage industry" of cybersex and online prostitution.


"The victims are usually younger than 18 and belong to poor families. Kawawa ang mga kabataan at kababaihan dahil wala silang kalaban-laban," Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said.

Existing laws such as Republic Act (RA) 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009) and RA 10364 (Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012) apply to child pornography/sex trade, but its heightened prevalence necessitates a review of the effectiveness of applicable laws in these situations, she said.

Poe asked the Senate committees on youth, women, family relations and gender equality to review government policies against child pornography and trafficking of persons to strengthen and tighten existing laws.

In recent months, there had been a crackdown on cybersex dens, "where girls who have not even reached the age of majority perform sexual and lascivious acts before a webcam upon instructions and requests from a client from the other side of the world."

Based on reports, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had arrested and detained 11 people following raids on two fake call center businesses that sold child pornography online to global clients.

Some of the nude photographs on the computers were of unidentified Filipino children aged about 12 to 16.

The business model involved staff chatting online with people overseas and showing them pornographic photos in a bid to lure them into buying website subscriptions. The businesses received a commission of $5 for each subscription, and together cleared more than $8,000 a day.

The government pledge to crack down on child cybersex operations came after British and Australian police announced this month they had dismantled a pedophile ring that streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the Internet.

Philippine police subsequently said the country was one of the world's biggest sources of live streaming of child sex abuse, with children performing acts in front of webcams to online pedophiles in an industry worth billions of dollars.

"And this for me is very alarming. Hindi po dapat natin itong ipagwalang bahala. We need to stop this right away," Poe said.

It was also learned that most of these children are helping their parents. Poverty and the promise of easy money have seen some parents allowing their children to be abused online for the paying audience.

Poe said she will make sure that thse syndicate behind the illegal act will be answerable. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

Local news

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