Imagine how tired we are to find out that there are still Facebook pages that prey on children. Actor and writer Juan Miguel Severo is one of the many who have had enough of this illegal and abusive trend. In a tweet posted yesterday, May 13, he rallied his Twitter followers to mass report a Facebook page that allegedly sexualized young girls.
In the comments section, fans also posted links to similar pages and shared screenshots of members and page administrators in the hopes that these could help ban individuals from the site and that it could push the Philippine National Police to start an investigation.
One user shared that they sent the link to the page mentioned by Severo to Child Rights Network, an alliance pushing for children’s rights legislation in the country. The network replied, “Good evening. We have reported this to the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) and Facebook. The page has been taken down and the PNP is starting its investigation on the case. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.” The page is now unavailable for viewing.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also spoke about the issue on Facebook today. She wrote, “Dear NBI, Please help put a stop to Facebook and online pages that sexually exploit children. Nakarating sa opisina ko na mayroong mga Facebook pages kung saan naka-post ang napakaraming mahahalay na larawan ng mga babaeng bata. Matagal na ang mga Facebook page na ito ngunit active parin daw ang mga posts at groups.” Apart from asking the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for speedy action against similar pages and groups, she also said that Facebook should be held accountable and called for the public to remain vigilant.
The Philippines has a child sex abuse problem. NPR wrote about online child sexual abuse cases in Southeast Asia during the lockdown. John Tanagho, the field office director for the International Justice Mission in the Philippines, said in an interview that the Philippines saw a rise in online child sexual exploitation. “We’re talking about on-demand, child sexual abuse and exploitation that is being livestreamed from traffickers in the Philippines to child sex offenders around the world, primarily in Western countries,” he said. It’s scary how we are facing this problem while we’re trying to fight a pandemic.
The New York Times investigated the reason behind the proliferation of images of child sexual abuse on the internet. Journalists Michael H. Keller and Gabriel J.X. Dance wrote about how many tech companies either fail to adequately police sexual abuse imagery on their platforms or fail to cooperate sufficiently with authorities. “The groups use encrypted technologies and the dark web, the vast underbelly of the internet, to teach pedophiles how to carry out the crimes and how to record and share images of the abuse worldwide,” they revealed.
At the height of the popularity of trash talk groups, there was one such group allegedly sharing child pornography that got reported to the NBI and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). Are netizens becoming more active in taking action against these cyber crimes? We hope so.
In an article published by the Philippine Information Agency, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Atty. Amcel Mercader of the Negros Oriental Prosecutor’s Office advised parents to be cautious when posting photos of their children on Facebook because child sex offenders and other exploitative individuals grab them for sinister and disturbing purposes. “If we will seek the help of the National Bureau of Investigation or Information Technology experts, social media users or offenders can be located or traced based on the internet protocol addresses,” she adds.