TACLOBAN CITY— The International Justice Mission(IJM), a global organization that protects the poor from violence through the developing world, has revealed some signals to guide the public in catching suspected perpetrator of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC).
Rebelander Basilan, JIM partnership development coordinator,said there are various warnings for the people and authorities to detect the existence of OSEC cases.
These include someone having varied means of internet connection (broadband, pocket wifi, etc); frequent trips to money transfer outlets; having multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Messenger, Skype, etc.); several male foreigner friends on social media; and unexplained wealth, among others.
He also debunked some myths on OSEC cases, saying it is wrong for people to say that it is just about standing naked in front of the camera and no physical contact happened because in reality these victims are molested and sexually abused by adults.
Basilan said that it is wrong to say that OSEC does not harm children because, in reality, the children are “deeply traumatized”.
It is also wrong to say that rescuing children from OSEC results in a dysfunctional family because, as it is, these victims already have a dysfunctional family environment, he added.
“OSEC is a very dark world but there is hope for children to recover. We need to be vigilant. If we don’t rescue these children, it will be normal for them,” Basilan told local media and publication information officers in the region during the recently-concluded orientation forum on OSEC held in the city.
While he urged the public to report any cases of OSEC to authorities, he also cautioned media and government information officers on proper guidelines in reporting it to ensure the “privacy and the best interest” of the victims.
According to the IJM, the Department of Justice received 1,000 cyber tip reports each month in 2014 alone.
These referrals doubled to more than 2,000 in the first four months of 2015.
IJM was instrumental in rescuing 165 victims of OSEC in their first 64 cases from 2011 to January 1, 2017.
It said that more than half or 50.3 percent of these victims were in their pre-teens; the youngest of these was a 3-month old baby boy.
IJM reported that with the help of the authorities, they have conducted 76 rescue operations, with 268 victims rescued, 121 suspects arrested, and 20 people convicted as of January 2018.
In a statement, Samson Inocencio Jr., national director of IJP Philippines, said that “more than 80 percent of victims rescued from online sexual exploitation are minors, making this a staggering humanitarian issue and a problem for the Philippine law enforcement to tackle….”
“Perpetrators of online sexual exploitation produce illicit photographs, pornographic videos, and customer-directed live sex shows for costumers residing overseas. These customer-criminals are active in directing the abuse perpetrated on the young children. This crime is spreading as more people gain access to the internet,” the statement said.
In February this year, IJM helped authorities in rescuing 13 victims of cybersex den in Tacloban city and in Biliran province.
Authorities caught an elder sister in the act of offering to sexually abuse minor siblings ages 15 and 17 and “live-stream” those sex acts in exchange for money from a foreigner.