WHAT could be more shameful to the human race, to any nation, every community or family that vulnerable, helpless children can be sexually exploited, abused, sold and raped with impunity? That shame is what the world is still trying to hide, deny and ignore, but others try to cope with the horrible truth and expose it. It’s a challenge to all to accept that this heinous crime is a common event, a secret crime, in families, on the street in brothels and hotels where hundreds of thousands of acts of child sexual abuse and violence are happening every minute, every hour, every day, in every country.
No nation or community can say it does not happen. In a group of children as young as 6 to 16, in every three or four, one will have suffered an act of sexual abuse. Many have been sexually abused many times by parents, relatives, live-in partners of their mothers, neighbors and friends, and sex tourists. Many sexually abuse their children online in live sex shows over the internet, allowed and enabled by internet service providers (ISPs), all for filthy money and enabling the sexual gratification of foreign pedophiles.
An abhorrent business is so prevalent that the Philippines is the hub of this evil trade. Executives and employees of PLDT, Globe and DITO allow the passage of child sexual materials apparently without a qualm of conscience, through their servers. They refuse to install blocking software despite Republic Act (RA) 9775, also known as the “Anti-Child Pornography Law of 2009,” telling them to do so.
According to the charity Liberate Children, it is estimated that 10 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation around the world today, and they have an average age of 12 to 14 years old. Abuse of the internet enables and allows this.
The victims of domestic sexual abuse can be estimated also in millions. No one knows how many since the crimes are committed in secret, and children are threatened not to talk or report abuse. It is only years later they find the chance and opportunity to reveal what they endured. The #MeToo movement is helping a lot. Social workers in the Preda Foundation have rescued and healed victims as young as 3 and 6 years of age. There are 52 girls recovering from sexual assault at present.
We help them heal and recover and to file their legal complaint against their abusers. The brave, courageous children testify strongly after having Emotional Release Therapy. They win an average of 16 convictions every year. As many as 35 court cases are ongoing; others are archived as the cowardly abusers are in hiding. Bringing the abusers to justice is closure and victory for the children.
The child victims/survivors are mostly victims of domestic sexual abuse or online sexual exploitation and become street children to escape the abuse and are then recruited by human traffickers and pimps. The Philippines is the hub of this heinous online crime against children. The moral corruption in government and society that tolerates and allows this began in towns and cities around the US Naval Base on Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga.
I discovered the cover-up by authorities of a syndicate selling children as young as 9 years old to US sailors in 1982 and exposed it in the media, and I was denounced and threatened for doing so. I then called and campaigned with others for the closure and conversion of the US bases to economic industrial parks. It succeeded, and the bases finally closed in1992 and the sex industry collapsed.
Yet, we recently discovered sex trafficking in the posh hotels of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and hoping the new chairman and administrator, Rolen Paulino, will work with us to stop it once and for all.
Protest against child abuse and trafficking worldwide, however, began and grew. This culminated in the passing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations in 1989. I was a delegate to the drafting committee in Helsinki, Finland. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was established and the protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) was established in 2002. The Philippine Child Protection Law, RA 7610, was passed in 1992. Finally, the world and the Philippines were awaking to the extent of child abuse and human trafficking.
Only this past month, the Philippines raised the age of sexual consent from a low of 12 years of age to 16. Everyone knew a child of 12 can’t give consent to a sexual act, but the pedophile-minded politicians and the Church allowed it without protest since 1930. This column campaigned successfully for many years to change it. Now, sexual intercourse between an adult and a child below 16 years of age is classified as statutory rape with a life sentence.
Parents and relatives are the perpetrators of online sexual abuse of their own children for money that is paid through money transfer. It is one of the biggest global criminal activities with a turnover of $99 billion in profits a year.
Good people everywhere have to realize that child sexual abuse is a heinous crime and causes trauma, hurt and pain, that it is a life-long psychological trauma and burden. It damages and scars the personality and character of the victims/survivors unless there is therapy to release the anger, pain and hurt.
Images of children being abused are also sold to pedophiles online by the child’s parents or relatives for their sexual gratification. Even live child abuse sex shows are offered. The abusers only need a low-cost smartphone and a cheap internet connection. English is spoken and understood widely and communication is quick and easy.
The telecommunication corporations and the ISPs are at the center of the proliferation of abuse images of children by enabling and allowing the transmission of the child abuse images. By law (RA 9557), they must install blocking software. They do not do it. They seem more powerful than the government itself.
We need more people who believe in human dignity, have faith and believe in goodness, justice, human dignity and children’s and women’s rights. Everyone should immediately report child abuse to authorities and to Preda Foundation [email protected] or phone 091753224453 with basic information of the victim and location, and if possible, information when and where the abuse happened. Then immediate action will be taken to protect and help the child victim and bring the abuser to justice. We need more direct action and healing.