Child Pornography - PH Trending

PH Trending

Latest Philippine news, trending stories about people, politics, sports, viral videos, technologies & more...


Post Top Ad

Saturday 18 July 2015

Child Pornography

Child Pornography

       I.        What is Child Pornography?

Pornography, films, magazines, writings, photographs, or other materials that are sexually explicit and intended to arouse sexual excitement in their audience. Deriving from the Greek words pornē (“prostitute”) and graphein (“to write”), the word pornography originally referred to any work of art or literature dealing with sex and sexual themes. Pornography is one of the most controversial forms of expression. Societies have long debated whether pornographic works should be subject to censorship, and the question of how to distinguish between artistic works and pornography has perplexed governments ever since they began to take freedom of expression seriously. In addition, the social consequences of pornography have become the subject of intense debate. (Downs, 2008)
According to, 2009 legally, a child is a person below 18 years of age. The Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on the other hand, defines child pornography as “any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child.” [Protocol, Article 2(c)] This is done primarily for the sexual gratification of pedophiles or adults interested in children as sexual objects.
            Child pornography, along with prostitution and trafficking for sexual purposes, is considered a form of child sexual exploitation and is a fundamental violation of children’s rights. More often than not, child pornography involves the sexual abuse of children. Procurers or pimps earn from these children’s abuse. In other cases, children are themselves given token remuneration in cash or in kind. In such a set up the child is treated as a sexual object or an object of commerce or trade. Its exploitative nature makes it one of the worst kinds of child labor (Free the Children, no date).
                        Republic Act No. 9775 or known as the "Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009." AN ACT DEFINING THE CRIME OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Section 3. (a) "Child" refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age or over, but is unable to fully take care of himself/herself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition. (2) computer-generated, digitally or manually crafted images or graphics of a person who is represented or who is made to appear to be a child as defined herein. (, 2009)
            b) "Child pornography" refers to any representation, whether visual, audio, or written combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other means, of child engaged or involved in real or simulated explicit sexual activities. (, 2009)
    II.            Why do pedophiles do child pornography? Factors that influence the proliferation of child pornography.
            Apart from these key players, other factors enhance the production and dissemination of child pornographic materials. These include advanced technologies like computer hardware and software, the Internet, digital cameras, mobile phones, and the like. Others may also come in the form of prostitution, child trafficking, sex tourism, poverty, and the availability of pornographic materials in the mainstream. With the presence of these factors, the risk of children getting entangled in the web of pornography is amplified.
Advanced Technology
            Digital Cameras. While technology has helped people in a lot of ways, technology has also been used for less than noble purposes. For instance, advances in technology have allowed for the easier production, reproduction, and dissemination of child pornographic images. Because of this, it has made child victimization easier. (
            One such technology being used for prurient purposes is the digital camera. This can come in the compact varieties that can be brought anywhere to capture images. Such cameras can store hundreds of pictures, effectively doing away with bulky rolls of film and the inconvenience of having the photographs developed in public photo shops. One only needs a printer that can print in full color, and copies can be processed in the comfort of one’s home without the fear of discovery or of apprehension by law enforcement agencies. (
            More advanced varieties of digital cameras are also capable of taking video footage. Hence, these can also be used to create pornographic video images.
            Mobile phones. Ubiquitous camera-equipped mobile phones may also be used to produce pornographic images of children. Like digital cameras, these phones can be used to take and store numerous photographic and video images. What makes the mobile phone a perfect tool for the production of pornographic images is the ease with which these phones can be carried around and can be used to take pictures of people without them even knowing it. On the Internet, “amateur” pornographic pictures of unsuspecting individuals are being circulated. Some of these images have been taken using mobile phone cameras. These images can be passed from one mobile phone to another or circulated via email, file transfer protocol (FTP), or websites. (
            Computer Technology. With the advances in computer technology, pictures from digital cameras and mobile phones can now be easily uploaded unto personal computers. Aside from this, digital photographs can also be downloaded into computers from the Internet or from compact discs and the like. Thus, current computer technology can be used in tandem with other advanced technologies. (
            Computer technology now enables the storage of voluminous data not only in the form of JPEG and bitmap (photo) files but also files in the form of MPEG (video) files. This can be attributed to the increased memory capacity found in most contemporary personal computers. New developments in technology have also made it possible to compress big files into smaller files, making it easier to download photographs and movies into computers. (
            Rädda Barnen (undated) reports, quoting Kenneth Lanning, that since pedophiles are meticulous record keepers, the computer “fills their need for organization, validation, souvenir records, and to find victims.” This is because computers now allow for efficient storage of numerous pornographic images. (
            Another development in computer technology is the CD and DVD-ROM (digital versatile disc-read only memory) writers. These have allowed for the mass production, reproduction, and distribution of pornographic materials. (
            Internet. The invention of the Internet is viewed as an important milestone because of the speed at which information and knowledge can be exchanged and accessed by anyone at any time. However, the Internet is not a benign technology because of its less than noble aspects. The Internet has itself become a dynamic venue for the distribution of all kinds of pornography. (
            Although many of these sites are pay-sites (that is, sites that require payment for access) and thus can only be viewed when users give their credit card information, these sites contain free previews that allow anyone interested to sample pornographic photographs or video available on the site. There are also free sites that are either operated by a private individual or by companies specializing in pornography. Anyone who knows how to navigate the Internet, including children, would be able to find these free sites and open them. (
            Pornographic Sites and Internet Chat Rooms. Pornography has become widespread all over the World Wide Web. It is estimated that some 40 percent active websites host pornographic materials. In a research by the Crimes Against Children Research Center in the United States, 25 percent of respondents stated they have been exposed to unwanted pornographic materials while they were surfing the Net (no author, undated). Large numbers of pornographic sites exist because of the huge profits they make. The large demand for pornographic materials spawns the need to recruit numerous individuals to fill in this need. In the pornography business, it has been found that the younger the models are, the more attractive they will be to consumers. Such demand makes way for the recruitment of children as models for these lewd materials. (
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of the Children
            One of the sad realities we currently encounter is the increasing commercial sexual exploitation of children. This work defines commercial sexual exploitation as the coercion or the influencing of children by any adult or group to engage in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct for money, profit, or other similar considerations (Di Giovanni, 1997). Anthropologist Michael Tan aptly describes commercial sexual exploitation of children as a function of the commoditization of sex where the child is “reduced to a commodity to be exchanged mainly for money” (ECPAT-Philippines and ECPAT Japan-Kansai ,1994).
            Children, both male and female alike, are susceptible to becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. This may come in the form of prostitution, trafficking, and pornography (Sunga 1999). Among these, the most visible form of exploitation is prostitution.
            Prostitution. There are no precise numbers of the total number of children in prostitution. However, it is generally assumed that there are millions of male and female children all over the world who are engaged in prostitution. In the Philippines, estimates of the number of children in the sex industry vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, depending on the source of the estimates. It does not come as a surprise that children are recruited in prostitution. As Sunga (1999) says: …in the business of prostitution, the demand for the younger and fresher face and body is always the strongest. That is why where there is prostitution, there are usually, if not always, children involved.
            Children are most likely to be lured into prostitution by poverty. Protacio Marcelino et al (2000: 23) reveal that most of the victims/survivors of child prostitution are offspring either of blue-collar workers or unemployed parents. Thus, children assume the burden of keeping their family’s finances stable. More often than not, they have also dropped out of school.
            Child Trafficking. An issue connected to prostitution and pornography is child trafficking. Republic Act 9208, a law passed by the Philippine 39 Child Pornography in the Philippines           Congress in July 2002 that states that trafficking of women and children is criminal, defines trafficking as recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at the minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs. [Section 3(a)].
            Indeed, prostitution on a global level invariably involves the transportation and recruitment of women and children either within a particular country or across borders. In Thailand, many of the women and children in prostitution have been smuggled from nearby countries such as Cambodia and Laos. In the Philippines, trafficking involves the transportation of women and children from the Visayas and Mindanao to Luzon and vice versa. These persons are recruited for various purposes such as prostitution or servitude.
            Sex Tourism. Numerous countries, particularly developing ones, have used tourism to boost their flagging economies. De Leon, Contor, and Abueva (1991: 53) make this important observation: Governments and international development institutions... have encouraged the influx of tourists into Third World Countries principally as a means to generate foreign currency for the poor nation’s coffers….
            Because tourists bring precious dollars with them, a country’s economic growth can be stimulated. However, the use of tourism to boost local economies does not come without grave social costs. The careless way by which governments promote tourism in their countries have been known to Child Pornography in the Philippines 40 breed problems such as prostitution and sex tourism. De Leon et al (1991) say: “It did not matter much in what way money was spent by tourists in the country. What was more important was to make sure tourists spent their money….”
            In different international fora, tourism has come to be regarded as a mitigating factor to the increase in the “magnitude of children lured or sold into prostitution (Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism 1991). The demand for flesh by tourists has inspired the growth and institutionalization of the prostitution industry, both in Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world.
            Lest it be mistakenly assumed that only poor children can become victims of child pornography, children from well-off families may also be equally at risk. For instance, the Internet does not only expose these children to pornographic images; they may also be lured by guileless individuals lurking on the Internet to watch these individuals perform sexual acts. It may also work the other way around with these children being persuaded by unscrupulous individuals to perform sexual acts online.
The Availability of Pornography in the Mainstream
            The availability of child pornography in the mainstream may desensitize people to the phenomenon and makes them think that child pornography is normal. It may also induce pedophilic tendencies among some people. Of grave concern is the possibility that people may become blind to the negative effects child pornography has on its victims.
 III.            Demographic Description of the Victims
Case 1. Victims are 590 Pagsanjan children aged seven to 17 were on Harvey’s files where he described in detail the sensitive body parts of boys and girls and the sexual acts he performed with them. The children were photographed in the nude, with some masturbating and others being molested by Harvey. See more details on page 12-14
Case 2. Victims are two siblings age 10 and 11 years old complained that Maruyama took still photographs and videos of them while they were hog-tied and naked. Children were also asked to kiss and perform sexual acts with each other. See more details on page 14-15
Case 3. Victims are children between the ages of 7 to 16 years to perform a variety of sexual acts over 13 days between July 2010 and May 2011 while the defendant watched via webcam. See more details on page 15-17
Case 4. Victim is a five-year-old daughter sold by his 44-year-old Filipino mother to undress before her New Zealander boyfriend in front of a web camera. See more details on page 17- 18
Case 5. Victims are 15 minors—11 girls and four boys—who were with 50-year-old Australian national at a resort in Datag Poblacion in the town of Cordova, Cebu. One of the victims had complained that the foreigner took nude pictures of her and touched her private parts. See more details on page 18-19
Case 6. ‘Sweetie’: Computer-Generated Little Asian Girl Lures Hundreds of Online Child Sex Predators. See more on page 19-21
 IV.            The Problem
            In the early part of 2004, the Philippines was rocked by the news of 17 children being sexually abused by three foreign nationals. Aside from sexually abusing them, the foreigners photographed and took video footage of these children in various stages of undress and in sexually suggestive poses. Some of the photographs and video also documented the sexual abuse of these children.
            A few months later, another story came into focus. This time, the news involved an operation staged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and a Manila-based non-governmental organization (NGO) to capture an Asian national who was said to be producing child pornographic materials, using Filipino children as models. The foreigner was apprehended, together with his Filipino cohorts, in the act of taking video footage of a girl as he made her undress.            Aside from the female victim, the foreigner also brought along with him 70 children whom the law enforcement agency suspected would be used for his production.
            These are just two of the latest documented cases of child pornography in the country. According to research, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand are among the top 10 sources of child pornography in the world. Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Pampanga are the primary sources of internet child pornography in our country. There are others dating as far back as the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s that show that child pornography is a real and pressing problem in the Philippines. Child pornography is like a deadly endemic disease with no known treatment that spreads more rapidly through third world countries
    V.            History
            In 2000, of the nine victims of child pornography, four came from Region III (Central Luzon), one from Region VIII (Eastern Samar), and four from Region X (Northern Mindanao). Only one of the eight victims (coming from Region III) is male.
            In 2001, of the four child pornography victims that the DSWD reported, three came from Region IV (CALABARZON comprising the provinces of Cavite,  Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon and MIMAROPA comprising the island  provinces of Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, and  Palawan), while one came from Region III (Central Luzon). All four victims were female.
            In 2002, of the seven victims, two were male and five were female. Four came from the National Capital Region (NCR), one from Region VI (Western Visayas), and the two males came from Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula). 
            In 2003, of the 13 victims, six were male and seven were female. Three came from the Cordillera Autonomous Region, nine came from Region IV (three males and six females), and one came from Region V (Bicol).
            It must be noted that apart from cases reported in Central Luzon, NCR, and the CALABARZON area, victims come from some of the poorest parts of the Philippines such as Eastern Samar, MIMAROPA, Northern Mindanao, and Bicol Regions. This may be an indication that children from poorer communities are at greater risk of falling prey to the machinations of child pornographers because their dire situation may be forcing them to accept offers of quick money.
            On the other hand, reported cases in Central Luzon and NCR may be related to the existence of red light districts located in these areas
            However, compared to the number of children who work in the sex industry, the number of victims of child pornography is very low. This should not give readers the impression that child pornography is not a serious problem in the country. As stated earlier, the numbers may in fact be deceiving in that the number of actual cases of child pornography may be higher than documented. This is because pornography is clandestine and is a little-known issue.
            Karlen (1996 in Protacio-Marcelino et al 2002: 18) reveals that child pornography in the Philippines has its roots in the 1970’s during the Vietnam War when American GIs from war-torn Vietnam visited different countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, for rest and recreation. During these trips, some soldiers took sexually graphic pictures of children. They did this by offering money to the children to entice them.
Case 1
            What probably brought the issue of child pornography to the fore in Filipinos’ imagination are the highly-publicized cases of pedophilia in Pagsanjan, Laguna in the latter part of the 1980’s. In 1988, news of widespread pedophilia in the small sleepy tourist town of Pagsanjan was reported in the media. As a result, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, then-director of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) ordered a crackdown on suspected pedophiles staying in the area.
            According to Kreutz (2002), Santiago ordered the raid in reaction to statements written in books and periodical articles, and reports on television on the pervasive practice of pedophilia in the tourist community. The raid yielded 22 foreign male tourists, mostly elderly males, suspected of being involved in the production of pornography, drug abuse, and the sexual abuse of children.
            The 22 arrested foreigners were given the opportunity to voluntarily deport themselves or remain indefinitely in detention pending their investigation. Most opted to leave the country on their own, three of the accused, including an American, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and questioned the legality of their arrest and detention. They accused the law enforcement agents of arresting them without a warrant (Kreutz 2002).
            It was the American, Andrew Harvey, who gave the pedophile a human face. Harvey emerged as the perfect example of who a pedophile is. In the earlier section, pedophiles were described as avid and meticulous collectors of records of the children they encounter, including pictures and details of contact persons to whom they may have peddled these children, which Harvey assiduously did.
            The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that some 590 Pagsanjan children aged seven to 17 were on Harvey’s files where he described in detail the sensitive body parts of boys and girls and the sexual acts he performed with them (Kreutz 2002). In addition, Shay Cullen (1991), an Irish priest who heads the NGO People’s Recovery, Empowerment, and Development Assistance  Foundation, Inc. (PREDA), reports that names of Harvey’s contacts (possible customers to whom Harvey pimped the children) were also found, which included “businessmen in Manila connected to Multinational Companies  (MNCs), politicians, government officials, diplomats, and regular tourists.”
            Also found were pornographic photos of the children Harvey abused. The children were photographed in the nude, with some masturbating and others being molested by Harvey (Kreutz 2002; Cullen 1991). Harvey is suspected to have shared these photographs, along with vivid sexual descriptions of these children and their sexual skills, to prospective customers interested to engage these children in illicit sexual activities (Alforte 2004)
Case 2
            In 1991, another foreigner was arrested and charged with the sexual abuse of children, also involving the production of child pornography.  Japanese national Hisayoshi Naoyoshi Maruyama was arrested after two siblings complained that Maruyama took still photographs and videos of them while they were hog-tied and naked. It was also revealed in the report that the two children were also asked to perform sexual acts with each other while he documented the proceedings. The children were aged 10 and 11 at that time. It was also reported that another child who was then seven years old was also photographed naked and taken video footage of. Children were also asked to kiss and perform sexual acts with each other (Villamor 1991).
            In 1996, Maruyama was again arrested and charged for pedophilia after he was caught “taking a photograph of a nude 10 year old girl in his room at a tourist inn.” The police were able to confiscate his camera. It was found to contain a roll of film that, when examined, revealed sadomasochistic images of hog-tied or blindfolded naked boys and girls (Araneta 1996; Pazzibugan 1996).
Case 3
            In 2010 the defendant engaged in online chat sessions with people in the Philippines who ran live sex shows involving children for fees.  The defendant instructed the people to have the children perform sexual acts while he watched via webcam and transferred money to them in return.  The defendant sought to procure children between the ages of 7 to 16 years to perform a variety of sexual acts over 13 days between July 2010 and May 2011 while he watched via webcam.  The defendant transferred money in return.
            On 17 February 2011, the AFP executed a search warrant on the defendant’s residence and seized computer equipment which revealed that the defendant had engaged in chat sessions where he procured live sex shows involving children.  On 14 May 2011 the AFP executed a further search warrant and seized computer equipment which revealed that the defendant had again procured live sex shows involving an 8 year old girl.  Although the sex shows were not recorded, the information from chat sessions located on the computer between the defendant and persons in the Philippines provided detail about the nature of the shows.
            The defendant was charged with 1 count of using a carriage service to cause child pornography material to be transmitted pursuant to section 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code and 1 count of procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia pursuant to section 272.14(1) of the Criminal Code.
            The defendant pleaded guilty and on 28 October 2011 he was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria to 7 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years.  When handing down the sentence the Court noted that but for the defendant’s plea of guilty the sentence imposed would have been 10 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 years.  Under Schedule 2 of the Sex Offender’s Registration Act 2004 (Vic) the defendant is required to report to authorities for 15 years.
The Court made the following comments when sentencing the defendant:
            “The young age of the children involved, the fact that both adults and children were involved, the likely psychological consequences to the children and the lack of insight on the applicant’s part into the impact on the welfare of the children all bore on aspects of the offending which required a penalty reflecting adequate denunciation and general deterrence of like offending. Again, the ongoing lack of insight involved bore on the need for specific deterrence.
            It is submitted on behalf of the applicant that neither offence is directed towards actual sexual conduct. We accept that this is so, (Western Australia v Collier (2009) 178 A Crim R 310) but the character of the pornography forming the subject of the first count and of the sexual activity forming the subject matter of the second count, must be relevant considerations. So must the proximity of the offender’s activity with those responsible for bringing the pornographic material into existence and the directness of the offender’s involvement in procuring the relevant sexual activity (Minehan v The Queen (2010) 201 A Crim R 243, 260-1).”
            The defendant applied to the Victorian Court of Appeal for leave to appeal against the sentence.  On 30 May 2012 that application was refused.
Case 4
            Advocates pointed out the case of a 44-year-old Filipino mother who sold her five-year-old daughter to undress before her New Zealander boyfriend in front of a web camera.
Jedeka Martinez also urged her nieces, aged eight and 14 years old, to undress for P200 per peek. Martinez, at first, allegedly cavorted before her foreigner boyfriend via the web cam. But she allegedly turned to her daughter when the New Zealander asked her if she had any kids who could act out the part. She reportedly volunteered her child and two nieces and gave them P200 per session. According to Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Mendoza Jr., deputy director of the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), the children were forced to strip naked by Martinez.
Martinez was arrested last May and charged for violating Republic Act 9208, known as the “Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act.” Mendoza said the arrest of Martinez highlighted the prevalence of child pornography in the Philippines using the latest technological developments.
            Aside from Martinez’ private peep show, Mendoza claimed that there are about 50 to 75 cyber-sex dens operating in the country today, accessible from anywhere around the world through chat rooms over the Internet.
“We have no concrete statistics but based on international impressions, the Philippines is now ranked fourth next to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar as one of Asia’s child prostitution centers,” Mendoza told a forum on “Building Alliances to Combat Child Pornography” sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (Unicef) at the College of St. Benilde Hotel in Manila yesterday.
Case 5
            On Tuesday afternoon, June 24, 2014, Police arrested a 50-year-old Australian national and rescued 15 minors—11 girls and four boys—who were with him at a resort in Datag Poblacion in the town of Cordova, Cebu.
            The minors were found inside two rooms in the resort which were allegedly rented by the suspect, Peter James Robinson.  He had invited the kids to a party in the resort. According to Senior Inspector Peter Nunez—Cordova's police chief—one of the victims had complained that the foreigner took nude pictures of her and touched her private parts.
Authorities were aided by a non-government organization, Children’s Legal Bureau, in the rescue operation. Reports say that most of the minors had been befriended by Robinson through Facebook months before he visited the Philippines. Some of the minors claimed that Robinson had used a different name when he was still their “Facebook friend.” Robinson has denied the allegations against him. “I’m very surprised. Maybe somebody's jealous or trying to blackmail me.” Robinson has hired a lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand Dungog, to defend him. Police will be filing cases against Robinson for human trafficking, child abuse, and cyberpornography. The children are now in custody by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, while Robinson is now detained at the Cordova Police Station. Police are also looking into some informants’ claims that the kids’ parents themselves left the minors with Robinson. Police also said that it appeared Robinson had a contact in the town who helped him invite minors to hang out with him.
Case 6.
            "Sweetie," a computer-generated Filipino girl, attracted contact from some 20,000 child sex predators in 10 weeks.
            Hundreds of would-be child sex predators have been caught in a sting operation engineered by a children’s rights organization based in Holland. In this case, the object of desire was not even a real person, but rather a very lifelike, computer-generated avatar that resembled a 10-year-old Filipina girl.
            Terres de Hommes (TDH) created the fake child’s profile, dubbed "Sweetie," as a way to highlight the international problem of child sex exploitation via Internet. BBC reported that in a 10-week period after Sweetie’s profile was activated on a sex website, “she” received contact from some 20,000 men around the world, with about 1,000 of them offering money in exchange for online sex acts. The names of the men (including more than 250 from the U.S., 110 from the United Kingdom and 103 from India) were sent to police – the suspects were identified by researchers by using evidence from Skype profiles and social media.
            “We did not solicit anything unless it was offered to us,” said Hans Guyt, project director of TDH, in response to suggestions that his organization was engaged in entrapment at a news conference in The Hague. "[These crimes] require a new way of policing. The predator won't come forward. The victim won't come forward. We identified ourselves as 10-year-old Filipino girls.”
            The sting project is part of a TDH campaign to put an end to what it calls "webcam sex tourism." TDH also released a YouTube video in which it claims that children in developing nations are being approached by men from wealthier countries for online sex sessions, which they locate through chat rooms and social media websites. Then they use credit cards that are not traceable in order to compel the children to take off their clothes or perform sex acts. "Our worst-case scenario is that the same [thing] will happen with this phenomenon as with child pornography, which is now a multibillion-dollar industry in the hands of criminal gangs," explained TDH managing director Albert Jaap van Santbrink.
            TDH further stated that despite the obvious illegality of online child sex tourism, only six men have ever been convicted of this particular crime. “It is not a problem of existing laws,” Guyt said. “We want governments to adopt proactive investigation policies that give law enforcement agencies the mandate to actively patrol public Internet hotspots where this child abuse is taking place every day.” Guyt added: “The United Nations has established laws that make this child abuse nearly universally illegal. The biggest problem is that the police don’t take action until child victims file reports, but children almost never report these crimes. These children are usually forced to do this by adults or by extreme poverty. Sometimes they have to testify against their own family, which is almost an impossible thing to do for a child.”
            TDH selected a Filipina avatar since it is believed that tens of thousands of children in that country alone have been exploited by online child sex tourism. At any given moment, TDH estimates, some 750,000 child sex predators are online around the globe.
            However, some police agencies are queasy about investigating a “crime” under such ambiguous circumstances by a group that are not themselves mandated to perform law enforcement. "We believe that criminal investigations using intrusive surveillance measures should be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement agencies," Soren Pedersen, a spokesman for Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, told Reuters. Similarly, Andy Baker of Britain’s National Crime Agency said that "tackling child sex abusers is best left to specialist law enforcement agencies.” Still, Baker praised TDH for raising awareness of the “global child sex abuse threat.” "Working with our international law enforcement partners, we will now look at the information being passed on by Terre des Hommes," Baker added.
            But TDH warns the problem will simply worsen as the number of exploited children increase due to growing demand. Ironically, the easy accessibility to the Internet – once thought to be a boon for impoverished nations – will simply enable pedophiles in the developing world to further exploit poor children in their own countries.
Other Cases
            Several cases of child pornography were also reported a year earlier in 1995. For instance, Belgian Felix Vanden Haus and Australian Lee Jesse Montana were arrested and charged with pedophilia. The two came in the guise of adopting and supporting children. Caught in their possession were pictures of them abusing boys (Ramirez 1995; Bandera 1995). Another foreigner, British national Derick Turner, was arrested at first for drug pushing; investigators later recovered other incriminating evidence such as four albums of indecent photographs of Filipina and foreign girls, three pornographic magazines, and 52 pieces of pornographic VHS tapes (Laude 1995).
            A case was mentioned from early 2004, where a total of 17 children were said to have been abused by two Europeans and one North American in the tourist town of Puerto Galera in Mindoro. Again, the case involved the production of pornography where the children were said to have been photographed and taken video footages of in various states of undress with some of them performing compromising sexual acts with each other or with the pedophiles themselves. The three foreigners were arrested. However, one managed to escape. One committed suicide, while another one still remains in jail undergoing trial. These pedophiles are also suspected of belonging to pornographic rings, but this has yet to be verified in an investigation (Cobarrubias 2004).
Cases on Organized Pornographic Group
            ECPAT Philippines, for instance, shares their experience of finding a pornographic magazine in a Japanese shop containing pictures of Filipino children taken in an island setting. At first, they had a hunch that the children were Filipino. However, through steadfast research and investigation, ECPAT successfully identified the children as living in a poor community in Manila and traced the location of the shoot to somewhere in Bantayan Island, Cebu. (Alforte 2004; Lorenzo 2004).
            In a paper presented at a consultation on the Impact of the Internet and New  Media on Children in Bangkok, Thailand in August 2001, Alecks Pabico2  (2002) also reports that child pornographic websites called Paradise Lolita  and Lollipop, were shut down in 2000 by Philippine law enforcement  agencies. The websites “featured Asian children, including possibly Filipinos, in nude poses and sexual acts.” The company, although it carried a Philippine domain name identifier and provided a Philippine-based email address, was registered to a US company, Kinetic Computer Corporation (Shetty 2002: 265).
            The findings of Pabico (2002) indicates that these organized pornographers are already crossing borders to set up their businesses in places such as the Philippines where law enforcement is lax, thus providing little impediment to their business operation. This was also confirmed by the NBI when it busted several cybersex joints featuring Filipina women and children performing live on the Internet. It said that most of these joints are operated by foreign and Filipino partners and that many are connected with pornographic sites based in Western countries.
            A quick and random search of free pornographic websites on the Internet by the UP CIDS PST team also yielded pictures of nude Asian teenagers, some of whom are performing sexual acts with each other. The age of these teenagers’ ranges anywhere between 11 and 17 years old. There were also those who already look like adults. At first, it was difficult to tell where the children were from. However, under closer examination, it was found that the male models were wearing Philippine-made underwear. With this finding, the children were positively identified as Filipinos. This indicates that organized pornographers are already operating here in the country, recruiting Filipino children. Since these pictures were found alongside other pictures featuring Caucasian and other Asian-looking models, this also indicates that it is operated not by a local network but an international one.
            Another indication that organized international pornographers have been operating in the country is the arrest in 1997 of a Filipino pimp and pornographer, Orlando Doctolero. Doctolero was nabbed by security guards at the Luneta Park where he is said to have roamed around hunting for young boys to photograph (Alcantara 1997).
            According to the report, Doctolero sent nude photographs of the boys he picked up to Weins Harley, an American. Doctolero is said to have received money for each photograph he sent to Harley. In turn, Harley is believed to work for an international syndicate who buy children for sex. It was reported that Harley sent “detailed instructions on how to capture the young boys in sexy poses,” (Alcantara 1997) which could also be an indication that the photographs were being used for pornographic publications or websites.
            Still another indication that Harley and Doctolero might be involved in a more organized form of child pornography is the fact that Doctolero had been sent by Harley to other countries such as Thailand to scout for possible victims and had paid for the computer that Doctolero owns (Alcantara 1997). Also, Harley’s spending for Doctolero’s trip abroad to scout for possible child “models” gives enough reason to suspect that Harley may not be an individual pedophile involved in the “cottage industry” production of pornographic materials. Because Doctolero’s missions involved large sums of money, it is possible that Harley may really be part of a bigger group of pornographers or sex traffickers.
            In what appears to be the largest case of organized child pornography this decade in the Philippines, some 70 children were said to have fallen victim to a suspected syndicateof pornographers. According to Salaveria’s (2004) article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, this suspected syndicate involved a Japanese national and his Filipino cohorts who acted as his procurers. The children were hired to perform for pornographic videos and model for pornographic images.
            Facilitating their arrest were the NBI, the DSWD, and the SOS Child Care Foundation. These agencies set up an entrapment operation after the SOS Child Care Foundation received a tip that the Japanese was recruiting children for the pornographic materials he was producing. The Japanese and his associates were scheduled to conduct a shoot in a resort in Los Baños, Laguna with 70 children who came from Metro Manila and a town in the province of Rizal. The suspects were already starting their shoot when the NBI swooped down on them, catching them in the act of producing the pornographic materials. (Salaveria 2004).
            The group has reportedly been operating in the country for over three years now and the shoot they conducted was not the first. An earlier shoot had taken place in the first quarter of 2004. According to NBI Interpol chief Ricardo Diaz, some of the children appear to have been in the trade for some time because “they acted as if they were used to what they were made to do” (Salaveria 2004).
            The experience of Irish priest Shay Cullen of PREDA in a Conference he attended in Norway on the Sexual Exploitation of Children is another indication that organized pornographic rings operate in the Philippines. During the Conference, Cullen was surprised to see that pornographic pictures from a magazine that was shown by a conference participant were the very same pictures PREDA used against an accused pedophile. This indicated that the pictures taken by the pedophile were not only for his private consumption but eventually found its way in the world market (Hermoso 2004).
Cases on Local Pornographers
            News also broke out about a talent agent in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s who took advantage of scores of teenage boys auditioning to be models. The agent made the boys strip in front of the camera, and sometimes masturbated them or persuaded them to masturbate themselves. The video footage was leaked, unfortunately, to the public and became the object of exposes by the press. Rather than help stop the exploitation of children, members of the public even contributed to its perpetuation.
            Cases of pornographic images of children being published by local tabloids and magazines have also been reported lately. A local gay magazine that is normally sold in secret is known to feature Filipino teenage boys in various states of undress.  However, this magazine can sometimes be found being sold out in the open in Cubao, Welcome Rotonda, Quiapo, and Recto. A respondent also shared that he came across the case of a 17-year-old boy who modeled for this magazine. The respondent shares that the boy, at first, was proud of having been taken in as a model by the magazine, but when he was made to realize the impact of his actions, the boy decided to press charges against the publishers of the magazine. However, the case did not prosper; the judge dismissed the boy’s case because he had signed a contract with the publishers possibly precluding such legal action.
            Also proliferating in places like Cubao, Quiapo, Recto, Baclaran, and the corner of E. Rodriguez and Quezon Avenue are pornographic magazines, some of which contain strongly sexually-explicit images of adults and teenage children. Local tabloids with sexually suggestive names that feature pornographic images are available in the open market, some with overtly pornographic or semi-pornographic pictures on the front cover.
            An issue the UP CIDS PST saw of a particular tabloid contained two fictional stories which could be considered child pornography. One of the stories involved two brothers aged seven and nine who were prostitutes. But the story is hardly a sociological treatise on their life as prostitutes, in fact, the title—“Lollipop Kids II”—is suggestive of the sexualized content of the story. Another story, entitled “Bad Burn” is about the illicit relationship between a female high school teacher and her high school male ward.
 VI.            Treatment/Plan/Recommendation
            How do we beat child porn? Here are some of the treatment, plan suggestion and recommendation.
            Legislation to amend R.A. 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009” and maximize penalties which strengthen the anti-cybercrime law. More budget which includes additional budget for the Cyber Crime Division of the National Bureau of Investigation; hire more I.T. experts who can trace whereabouts of the predators; strengthen the regulation of Internet Content Hosts (ICH), Internet Service Providers (ISP), and Internet Cafes. Education -educate the public on the anti-child pornography law; massive advocacy campaigns in high risk communities; enhance the capacity of law enforcers to investigate and prosecute child pornography cases; educate children about their rights. Role of parents- Responsible parenthood and proper guidance: parents should supervise their children in the use of the Internet. Partnerships - strengthen the collaboration of government and non-government organizations (NGOs) in assisting to victims of child pornography and their families; government should provide more livelihood projects and job opportunities. People should not solely rely on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for their financial needs. Volunteer and Donate - UNICEF; Philippine Commission on Women; PREDA; Interagency Council Against Child Pornography

Key Recommendations
1.      The Philippine Government needs to allocate adequate resources to ensure the implementation of all National Plans of Action for Children (NPAC) related to commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It is recommended that more effort is needed to disseminate information by National and Local governments in order to adopt these policies and to build strong and interrelated mechanisms to implement measures.
2.      The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) as the lead agency for ensuring child protection must ensure that within the NPAC, provisions for CSEC are implemented with regular monitoring to ensure that objectives are being met in order to comply with the OPSC. The NPAC then needs to be systematically disseminated through local government units to reach affected families and communities.
3.      The National Government and including regional local governments must ensure that all child protection strategies and interventions be linked with broader development efforts aimed at reducing poverty and promoting social equity.

VII.            References

1.      Alforte, Dolores. 2004. Interview. ECPAT Philippines Office, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. Taped Personal Interview conducted by Arnie C.Trinidad. 29 April.
2.      Arnie C. Trinidad. “Child Pornography in the Philippines”. Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights Program UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies and UNICEF Manila, 2005.
3.      Cobarrubias, Aily. 2004. Interview. Municipal Social Welfare Office, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Taped Personal Interview conducted by Arnie C.Trinidad. 24 May.
4.      Cullen, Shay. 1991. “Success Against Child Abuse.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. 3 February.
5.      Downs, Donald A. "Pornography." Microsoft® Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Bottom Ad