THE Philippines has become the center of online sex exploitation of children, according to an official of the United Nations children’s welfare organization UNICEF.
In a report by wire agency Reuters, a UNICEF official, Lotta Sylwander, said “there’s no limits to how cruel and gross this business is – and it’s a billion, billion-dollar business.”
Sylwander called on Internet providers to police their ranks and to “get on board in tackling the crime.”
She added that money transfer companies must help in tracking “suspicious payment patterns” related to the sex trafficking online of children.
UNICEF has said that the Philippines is the number one global source of child pornography and the “epicenter of the live-stream sexual abuse trade.”
Sylwander said that Filipino children as young as five or six are being forced to perform in front of a webcam for an hour at a time to be viewed by pedophiles.
“It’s facilitated by mothers and fathers or close relatives. It may even happen in their home,” she added. “It’s definitely child slavery because the child has no choice.”
The pedophiles pay via money transfer to view the children perform, often instructing them what to do.
UNICEF said that many parents of the abused children abet the abuses.
“Our biggest hurdle is not the government, not the police; it’s getting the internet providers to come along and say we will help you track (and) stop this,” she told Reuters.
“My biggest concern is why don’t the internet providers do more – how can the dark web continue to do what it does?”
The Philippines being an English-speaking country has helped the nefarious activity to boom, along with good internet reach.
Each child is paid about P150 per show, said one group of performers.
“Their minds have been so traumatized and so destroyed and so focused on anything sexual that they can’t play or communicate like kids any more. It’s a very difficult rescue process,” Sylwander added.