SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called anew for the institutionalization of a comprehensive Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program to protect the youth from all forms of trafficking.
He renewed his call following the exacerbation of online sexual exploitation of children cases in the Philippines amid the coronavirus pandemic
The senator was alarmed by reports of students selling their lewd photos and videos online to raise money for their distance learning expenses.
In Senate Bill (SB) 735, or the “Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program Act,” Gatchalian proposed a program that will orient the youth about the various forms of human trafficking, including prostitution and pornography. It also aims to inform the youth on the services provided by government agencies and nongovernment organizations to aid and protect victims of human trafficking.
The proposed program has a school-based component that covers junior high school, senior high school, colleges and universities, and technical or vocational education programs. The community-based component of the program, on the other hand, will be implemented at the village level.
Between March 1 and May 24 in 2020, CyberTipline reports on online exploitation of children received by the Department of Justice’s Office of Cybercrime from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children increased by 264 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
This surge was observed amid the imposition of quarantine measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“Dahil sa mga hamong dinulot ng pandemya, mas marami sa ating mga kabataan ngayon ang nanganganib na maging biktima ng online sexual abuse [or] cybersex trafficking. Maliban sa pagpapaigting ng ating pagtugis sa mga kriminal, mahalagang hakbang na maturuan natin ang mga kabataan tungkol sa kanilang mga karapatan at sa mga panganib na dulot ng trafficking upang hindi sila mabiktima ng iba’t ibang uri ng pang-aabuso (Due to the challenges brought by the pandemic, many children are in danger of becoming victims of online sexual abuse or cybersex trafficking. Aside from the intensified campaign against the criminals, it is important to educate our youth of their rights and the dangers of trafficking to prevent them from becoming victims of the various kinds of abuses),” Gatchalian, who heads the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said.