Date of Meeting: 22 Mar 2016

Meeting Organizer: Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations 

ISJC Staff Present: Robert Docter

Reporter: Robert Docter

Which SDG does this topic cover? 8, 10, 16

Type of meeting: CSW Side Event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Moderator: Emmeline Verzosa, Exec. Dir, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)

Topic: Opening remarks – Presenting the problem in regards to the Philippines

  • Philippines ranks in the top 10 of countries of sourcing child pornography.
  • Cybersex cases stretch from phone videos, webcam, stolen pictures, and exploitation.
  • Many Americans and westerners travel to the Philippines to engage in illegal sexual activities with children. “Sex tours” and anonymous internet pedophile groups make it difficult to tackle.

Monica Pagunsan, Asst Sec., Dept. of Justice

Topic: Law Enforcement Perspective in tackling Cybersex crime and child exploitation

  • This as a transnational crime. Perpetrators stretch beyond the globe including the United States.  
  • Further laws and legislation should model human rights and child protective laws that the UN has set out.
  • Multi-disciplinary approach is essential – involving social workers, law enforcement, and recovery. 
  • Philippines have seen success with its Anti Cybersex Crime divisions in its country’s policing.
  • Philippines join an international police network on combatting child trafficking and exploitation.
  • Statistics from the interagency council against child pornography in the Philippines found that:
    • 93-75% victims are girls
    • Average age of victim is 13
    • Involved foreign nationals in illegal act from across the globe
    • Many exploiters are unfortunately close members to child’s life, including parents.
  • INTERPOL, FBI, Homeland Security, US ICE, and Virtual Global Task Force are some of the international policing agencies helping the Philippines tackle the problem of child exploitation and pornography.

Florita Villa, Undersecretary, Dept. of social Welfare and Development

Topic: Social Work/Welfare Perspective in Philippines

  • Speaker draws focus on the recovery and reintegration efforts with victims.
  • Provided case study of 12 year old victim: Symptoms included aloofness, fear, PTSD, health and nutrition deficiency. They worked to provide psychosocial assistance, legal assistance, socialization, health services, and spiritual activities.
  • Works on three-pronged approach:
  1. Focus on the Child’s best interest
  2. Help family of victim and integration. Sometimes this includes reintegrating into a different setting compared to previous family.
  3. Helping the community where cybersex crime took place to prevent further cases.
  • Challenges that emerge: slow judicial process, unsupportive/criminal family, delayed resolution of cases, risks after integration.

Carol Smolenski, Exec. Dir. ECPAT-USA

Topic: USA Perspective on combatting cybersex crimes on women and girls. 

  • Speaker works for ECPAT - an international NGO that works to end child slavery at the source.
  • Prefers the use of the term “Child abuse imagery” regarding child pornography.
  • Presented data from Microsoft on the topic of cybersex crime: 700,000 images of child abuse imagery uploaded every day
  • International center for exploited children investigates “photo DNA” of imagery to keep an updated database of those rescued versus those still trafficked and exploited based on images from the internet.
  • Triggers for the increase in child abuse imagery on the internet:
    • Poverty
    • Gender norms
    • Anonymous nature of the internet
    • Cloud-based services
    • File sharing networks
  • This crime also affects those in rural areas with the increased access and distribution of the internet and such materials.

Anjon Bose, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF

Topic: Child Protection

  • Work to protect children involves tackling production, distribution, and consumption of such material too.
  • It needs to be seen and treated as a Human Rights violation.
  • Between 2012-2014, there was a 147% increase of sexually-explicit child image websites. Much of which is children under 10 years of age.
  • UNICEF global programme on this issue works in 17 countries and 6 regions in hopes for protection, partnerships, and services. 

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • TSA does substantial work throughout the world in anti-human trafficking. This type of cyber-crime involves trafficking of children. Cybercrime of this nature presents a need that the SA has not yet been involved with but which anti-human trafficking initiatives might engage with.
  • TSA being mindful of the prevalence of child pornography throughout the world, especially in the Philippines.
  • Spiritual activities were mentioned as a means of recovery for children who were subject to cybersex exploitation. TSA continues to act as a spiritual presence to victims throughout the world. TSA can reach these populations and create partnerships with agencies working on recovery efforts for victims.  

Web links for more information


UNICEF – Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation, and Abuse

Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG5: Gender Equality