‘Bantay Bata’ sheds light on online child sex abuse in the Philippines

“Maghubad daw ako tapos at saka magbukaka daw ako, at saka igaganon ko lang sarili ko.”

This Filipino child is a victim of online sex abuse — the leading form of cybercrime in the Philippines.

She was recruited by a neighbor to perform sexual acts on a webcam for foreigners.

Studies show that she is just one of an estimated tens of thousands of children who are victims of online sex abuse in the Philippines.

According to UNICEF,  8 out of every 10 Filipino children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused online or being bullied.

The problem has become so dire in the homeland – that ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Bata program has focused its efforts on taking on this cause.

Bantay Bata has helped a of children through the years, but a lot more remain at risk. The organization is now reaffirming its commitment to help stop child abuse and exploitation in all its forms.

Now on its 20th year of helping and rehabilitating disadvantaged and at-risk children in the Philippines, Bantay Bata recently held a charity dinner in the San Francisco area to raise awareness on this pressing issue.

“It’s just unfortunate that the Philippines has now been chosen as the number one country in the world that has the most abused children,” said Susan Afan, managing director of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation. “And pornography continues to rise and it’s primarily due to poverty and ignorance unfortunately.”

Afan says in many instances, family members and friends are the ones that coerce children to perform these online sexual acts for money. She says because the children are not physically touched by the predators — they think the children are actually safe.

“It’s their conscience, their dignity that’s being taken away from them, and we have to stop it.”

But with more and more people using the internet worldwide, online sex abuse is also getting worse. Data shows that globally, there are around 75,000 child predators online — and many of them try to contact children in the Philippines.

“We need to get more support so that we can effectively mount this campaign in the Philippines, a multi-media campaign and a caravan — so that we can counter this scourge,”  said Jerry Bennett, managing director of ABS-CBN Foundation International.

 

If you want to know more about how you can help victims of online sex abuse in the Philippines, please visit ABSCBNfoundation.org.

 

 

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