PNP orders probe on online sexual exploitation of children

Philippine News Agency
January 4, 2021

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, on Monday ordered the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to look into the alleged online sexual exploitation of children and minors in social media.

Sinas has made remarks after reports of students holding a “Christmas sale” of sensual photos and videos to raise funds for distance learning-related expenses amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

"What we'll do... we'll task our cybercrime to monitor this one and maybe track and inform the parents or forward it to DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for professional intervention..." Sinas said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

Sinas said the PNP has not yet received a complaint on the alleged online sexual exploitation

He said the PNP does not monitor personal accounts on social media. If they will receive complaints on such, these will be referred to the DSWD.

On Sunday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime and the PNP-ACG to intensify their probe and crackdown on the so-called “Christmas sale”.

Gatchalian cited a post on the Philippine Online Student Tambayan (POST), a news portal on the student sector, that said some students use #AlterPH, #AlterPinay, and #AlterPhilippines on Twitter to sell their photos and videos.

These students, he said, use what they earn to buy gadgets for their siblings and pay for internet bills. A Christmas bundle, which contains an array of photos and videos that sometimes reveal the face of sellers, is sold for as low as PHP150.

Between March 1 to May 24 this year, there were 279,166 cases of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) recorded in Metro Manila, a spike of 264 percent from the 76,561 cases recorded from the same period last year.

Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill 1794 proposing that in cases involving child trafficking, regional trial courts can authorize law enforcers to conduct surveillance and record communications and information involving persons charged with or suspected of trafficking.

The proposed measure also mandates internet service providers (ISPs) to install available technology, program, or software to block and filter any access to any form of child pornography.

Gatchalian also filed Senate Bill 735 or the Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program Act, which seeks to orient Filipino children and youth about their rights, government protection measures, and the dangers posed by different forms of trafficking.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday said the government's anti-cybercrime units will intensify efforts to stop online sexual exploitation of children and minors.

He welcomed the possible enactment of a new law that would strengthen the legal framework for the government’s campaign against human trafficking in cyberspace, particularly online sexual exploitation of children and minors.

"As we await the passage of this legislation, the DOJ, through its office of cybercrime, and the NBI’s cybercrime division, will intensify its efforts to crack down on cybercrime and all forms of human trafficking through the internet, which are expected to rise during these times of limited physical movement and interaction," Guevarra said. (PNA)

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