ALARMED over the increasing number of children lured to “webcam child sex tourism,” detained Senator Leila De Lima asked her fellow lawmakers to investigate the matter.
De Lima’s Senate Resolution No. 379, at the same time, sought an assessment of the reported continuing growth in numbers of child sex workers to determine whether there is a need to increase penalties against child pornography and exploitation.
“There is a need to investigate the continuous proliferation of cybersex dens in spite of numerous legislation against them, especially those that victimize, exploit and prey on children,” said De Lima adding that it has been deplorable that the Philippines has been touted as “a key hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry” despite the existence of several laws against child pornography and exploitation.
According to De Lima Child sex workers are paid to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam through pay-per-view sessions–with foreigners as clients.
Among the laws that De Lima alludes to include Republic Act 9777, also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009; RA 10175 (the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and RA 10364 (the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012).
De Lima observed that the recent spate of police raids on cybersex dens in Metro Manila and nearby provinces which put into serious doubts that implementation of the country’s laws to protect children against sexual abuses.
“In 2017 alone, numerous cybersex raids were conducted nationwide, during some of which minors were rescued,” she said.
Last February, a cybersex den was raided in Tondo, Manila where one minor was rescued and five others were arrested for performing sexual acts to paying foreigners who watch a live streaming video footage of children in front of a webcam.
The police have also conducted separate raids of cybersex dens in Cavite and Bacolod in the past months where minors were rescued after they were forced to perform explicit sexual acts for men in Australia and US through via livestream.
De Lima raised suspicion that WCST seems to be thriving rapidly in the country and becoming the “newest” form of child exploitation due to the government’s alleged failure to adequately enforce child protection laws.
“There is a need to review the state and efficacy of the implementation of current laws that protect our children from predatory acts by malevolent elements in our society,” she said.
“There is (also) a need to review the provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act to see whether there is need for amendatory legislation, including the possibility of imposing higher penalties for child pornography.”
De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on drugs, is detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters due to illegal drugs related charges which stemmed during her term as justice secretary of the preceding Aquino administration. She denies the charges and insisted that it is a part of scheme to silence her vocal opposition to the President’s bloody war on illegal drugs, which now reportedly claimed the lives of more than 9,000 people.