Unpleasant as it is, we must not turn the page, look away and ignore this social evil that is destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and families. The spread of child sexual abuse all over the world is the terrible crime that few want to acknowledge and fight.
The high number of trafficked children, abducted and sold into the sex trade in developed and developing countries, seems unbelievable, but at least 2.5 million are thought to be victimized at any given time, and more are added to that list daily. The fact that so little is spent and done to combat it is an indictment of the international community and government officials who tolerate it. Officials actually promote and license the establishments that foster sex tourism and human trafficking.
Hundreds of thousands of sex tourists from developed countries come to Southeast Asia every year to engage in pernicious acts of child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. The Philippines is notorious for these crimes of human trafficking and child abuse, and many customers are coming from international pedophile rings. They abuse the children, make videos and sell them online. The international authorities do little to intervene, and local authorities seem to condone and promote the trade of young people in the sex industry.
The institutional Catholic Church fails to challenge sufficiently this pernicious evil that destroys the fabric of family life. People of all beliefs and principles, social justice advocates and those who value human rights and dignity ought to be outraged and take action wherever they can. They can campaign with groups online and challenge their politicians to act to protect children and curb foreign aid to governments that fail to implement international child protection standards.
The human rights workers, child protectors, and the NGOs working to save, protect and heal the victims and bring abusers to justice are the wonder workers of the children who are rescued and saved. But they are underfunded, sidelined, and most of the time ignored by the authorities who do not like their outspoken defense of the abused. The judicial system mostly fails them by dismissing the charges against their rapists and traffickers. At times, bribery under and over the table allows the culprits to walk free of responsibility for their crimes.
Not only are the children hurt and damaged, most beyond healing and recovery, but families are destroyed by unfaithful husbands frequenting the sex bars and karaoke bars, where young girls are offered to them. Some become addicted to this underage sex abuse, and can easily fall into incestuous relationships in their own families and abuse their own children. The spread of the underage sex business would account for the rapid increase of incestuous cases in the Catholic Philippines.
The foreign sex tourists become addicted also, then return to their own countries, posing a danger to children in their own families or communities. They will also participate in live cybersex events on the Internet, having made contacts with the sex bars and clubs producing evil shows of children doing sex acts fed live to Internet connections. They send payments through international courier services; they can order live shows to suit their twisted, lustful desires.
In the Philippines the most notorious of all is Australian pedophile and video maker Peter Scully. He has been charged with 69 criminal cases of child abuse. He is also accused of making snuff videos showing him having brutal sex with six year olds and killing them. His production, “The Destruction of Daisy,” shows many horrific crimes.
Dutch police discovered his video online. It was referred to the Australian Federal Police and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation. They eventually caught Scully and his helpers, young Filipino women who recruited the children for him. The remains of “Daisy” was dug up in a house he rented. Scully is just one of perhaps hundreds doing this hidden and hideous crime. How widespread it is, no one can say since it is illegal and done secretly.
The outcries condemning human trafficking and the sex trade involving young people are significant. Human trafficking, cybersex, and sex tours have all been decried, condemned, and denounced. All lectures, interventions, and hand-wringing seem to be of little or no purpose. The trade is growing and more children are falling into the grip of human traffickers, pimps, and sex bar operators.
The perpetrators have impunity and enjoy police protection. Government officials give their establishments operating permits. They appear to be a legitimate business, but behind the flashing neon lights and gaudy facades there is much exploitation.
The cyber-crime, where child porn is offered live online, is one of the most pernicious internet crimes and one of the most difficult to investigate. It is a secret world where minors are raped and abused.
Pope Francis declared human trafficking of minors to be a modern form of slavery and a crime against humanity. We would all do good to take a stand in our hearts and minds and let it flow into action. We can work to get justice for these vulnerable children. They are the most important in the Kingdom, as the master has said.