Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan urged colleagues in the House of Representatives to immediately tackle in its agenda House Resolution 453 amid increased reports of trafficking and cybersex operations in the country, especially in areas hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda including Leyte and Cebu.
HR 453 principally authored by Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus directs the Committees on the Welfare of Children and Women and Gender Equality to conduct an inquiry on the virtual “Sweetie” and the glaring inability of the Philippine government to stop pedophilia and child pornography.
“Despite the enactment of laws including the Anti-Child Pornography law and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Philippines continues to fail in addressing gender violence. These laws are obviously not enough as they are practically negated by government policies that worsen unemployment and women and families’ lack of access to basic social services. Women and their families are practically left with no choice. Sa kabila ng mga naipasang batas, mahihirapan talaga tayong mapigilan ang cybersex at cyberprostitution hangga’t papalala ang kahirapan at ang kawalan ng kabuhayan,”Ilagan said.
In recent months, raids on suspected cyber prostitution dens have been conducted in both Cebu and Angeles cities in Pampanga. The said cybersex and prostitution operations reportedly victimized minors and young girls from poor communities.
“The urgency with which this issue must be addressed cannot be emphasized enough as a growing number of young women and girls become increasingly vulnerable to gender violence. The absence of livelihood opportunities, the government’s criminal neglect of typhoon and disaster victims evident in the slow and inefficient response to the relief and rehabilitation needs of disaster survivors make women and girls easy prey for traffickers, cybersex operators and pimps,” said Ilagan who also cited reports of human trafficking among Typhoon Yolanda victims in Basey and Marabut in Samar province.
Reports estimate some 60,000 to 100,000 Filipino children have fallen victims to sex predators and pedophiles.
The Gabriela solons said they are hoping that both the Committees on the Welfare of Children and Women and Gender Equality will tackle HR 453 when Congress resumes session next week.(R)