Binay wants to tap NTC against child porn

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THE anti-trafficking council (ATC) is considering involving the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in its campaign against child pornography.

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Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday directed the council to intensify its efforts and increase coordination with other government agencies and the private sector following the discovery of an international child pornography ring that is centered in the country.

The NTC has jurisdiction over telecommunications companies and other Internet providers.

“We are looking to tap the government’s regulatory body on telecommunications as these child pornography groups operate primarily using the Internet,” said Binay, who is chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

He said the IACAT would coordinate with NTC on how to strengthen the monitoring of online pornography.

While the government is stepping up its drive against cyber-pornography, Binay said the IACAT would welcome the help of telcos and Internet service providers in tracking down the local sources of pornographic content.

“Any data they can provide to us for authorities to be able to track down these porn syndicates faster would be most welcome,” he said.

Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a group of American, British and Australian law enforcers, rates the Philippines as among the top 10 countries with widespread online pornography that involved even minors.

A data map provided by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) of the United Kingdom also showed locations in the Philippines where child pornography was transmitted in 2012.

The report revealed that Metro Manila, Angeles City in Pampanga, Cebu,
and Cagayan de Oro were the locations where the most child pornographic materials—including photos, recorded videos, and live-streamed videos—were transmitted from.

The Vice President said that while child pornography in the Philippines does not necessarily involve recruitment, since the purveyors are usually the victim’s parents or relatives, it is still related to child trafficking because the victims are forced to perform sexual acts for clients.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of the United States, upon which the annual Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report is based, defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.”

Binay said cases have already been filed against peddlers of child pornography.

“From 2012 to present, we have filed cases in the courts,” Binay said during an interview at the sideline of the 32nd Olympic Council of Asia Assembly Saturday.

He said Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Angela Paras-Quiambao of Angeles City in Pampanga is handling the cases.

In 2013, Paras-Quiambao convicted Ruth de la Rosa of Qualified
Trafficking in Person for forcing her niece into prostitution. She also held Esmeraldo Tejero and Marilyn Valencia guilty of peddling several minor girls to Filipino and foreign customers.

The Vice President remained positive of IACAT’s anti-human trafficking drive, saying the council’s efforts are being recognized abroad.

“There are a lot of officials who recognize our program against human trafficking. It remains to be a problem of course, but our efforts are being recognized,” he said.

In 2012, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the US State Department told Binay that the Philippines could be a model to other Southeast Asian nations in combating human trafficking.

CdeBaca commended the Philippines’ improved performance in its fight against human trafficking, which earned the country a Tier 2 status in the GTIP Report.

Countries in Tier 2 status do not meet the minimum requirements of the TVPA but are making significant efforts to do so.

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