National

On International Education Day, CHR seeks gov't help to end online child porn

On International Education Day, CHR seeks gov't help to end online child porn

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is calling on the government to end the online sexual exploitation of young students amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In the CHR’s message for the International Day of Education on Sunday, January 24, the commission expressed alarm over reports that some students have engaged in online pornography to raise funds for the needs of their online classes.

“As the pandemic worsens with the detection of new strains, forcing the continued delay of the resumption of physical classes. Social, economic, and digital inequalities continue to endanger this generation of students the opportunity of education which we know to be crucial for social mobilization and cohesion,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.

“Even more concerning are the alleged reports of a ‘Christmas sale’ of sensual photos and videos sold by students on social media sites for as little as P150 to help raise funds for distance learning-related expenses,” she added.

According to De Guia, various concerned offices like the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should work together to prevent these activities from happening.

“As such, the Commission calls upon the [DepEd] and schools to continue to ramp up the efforts of Child Protection Committees (CPC) tasked to identify cases of child abuse,” she stressed.

“The [NTC] should equally remain vigilant in ensuring that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block access to all websites carrying child pornography materials. Failure of ISPs or reluctance to comply to measures that combat online sexual exploitation of children must be sanctioned,” she noted.

As early as September 2020 — while classes were set to begin through online or blended setups — the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has warned authorities on the increase in child porn transactions throughout the lockdown periods.

AMLC then pointed out that young people have engaged in pornography because of the economic challenges posed by the quarantine lockdowns.

Recently, the so-called alter movement is also gaining ground on social media, where young people peddle sensual photos of themselves using hashtags to solicit buyers.

On Saturday, INQUIRER.net released a special report detailing how sex workers are starting to move online amid the travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic — despite concerns over security, privacy, and monetary paper trail.

CHR reminded the government that it is well within its duty to protect the youth from harm — whether it be in the form of physical or mental exploitation.

“Protection of young people from all forms of abuse is among the obligations of the state. A holistic approach in ensuring the protection of children from all forms of abuse also includes ensuring that they are well-informed of their rights and that they receive proper psychosocial support from their teachers and parents,” De Guia said.

/MUF