• Child rights groups urge action vs cyber-prostitution

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    Gabriela Women’s Party and Akap Bata gathered on Saturday launched an awareness and education campaign at the Quezon Memorial Circle which aims to combat online child prostitution in the country.

    The groups were joined by about a hundred children from various communities in a read-along session of May Mumu Sa Loob Ng Computer (There’s A Ghost Inside The Computer) a newly published illustrated children’s book that tackles the dangers, albeit lightly, of the disturbing new sex trade.

    The awareness and education campaign came after a report published
    last November, 2013 by Terre des Hommes, a Dutch-based non-government organization that focuses on children’s welfare, cited the Philippines as a hotbed of cyber child prostitution.

    Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of the Gabriela party-list earlier filed a resolution urging congress to conduct an inquiry based on the findings of this report. The resolution is yet to be acted upon by the congress.

    TERRE DES HOMMES REPORT HAVE RED FLAGGED CENTRAL VISAYAS, ILOCOS, ZAMBOANGA AND THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION AS LOCATIONS WHERE ONLINE CHILD PROSTITUTION IS PREVALENT.

    “Terre des Hommes report have red flagged Central Visayas, Ilocos, Zamboanga and the National Capital Region as locations where online child prostitution is prevalent. To date we have seen no action from the authorities in order to confirm this and subsequently apprehend those who are behind such horrendous acts,” Ilagan said.

    Gabriela’s Metro Manila spokesperson Arlene Brosas, for her part, urged an assessment of the implementation of the Anti-Child Pornography Law, a law which Akap Bata, which Brosas also currently heads, have campaigned for during the process of its legislation.

    According to her, “the Anti-Child Pornography Law as it is enough to prosecute the perpetrators of online child prostitution,” but says that “the law would be insufficient if the commitment, especially that of our authorities, to protect our children is lacking.”

    “Right now our thrust is to spread awareness about this new offensive against our children. And we seek everyone’s help in educating our children and those who look after them about it. This new book May Mumu Sa Loob Ng Computer will help us do that,” Brosas said.

    Brosas also called on the government to address certain factors that push women and children into prostitution such as worsening poverty, lack of employment, and sex-oriented tourism promotions among others.

    May Mumu Sa Loob Ng Computer is intended for third graders and their guardians. It is a product of the collaboration of Gabriela Women’s Alliance and creative think-tank DM9JaymeSyfu, and is published by Southern Voices Printing Press.

    Meanwhile, the Quezon City government also plans to conduct more read-along sessions with the children of her constituency and pledged support for the campaign against online child prostitution.

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