July 23, 2021 at 11:20 pm
Rey E. Requejo
The Department of Justice, through the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the National Bureau of Investigation, with the support of the UK National Crime Agency, inaugurated Friday the Cyber-TIP Monitoring Center.
This is the first facility established in response to the increasing numbers of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) reports in the Philippines.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stressed that the pervasiveness of the internet and social media usage in the country had contributed to the proliferation of new modes of perpetrating trafficking in general, and the rise of OSEC in particular.
Fortunately, Guevarra said, the advancements in technology could also assist in detecting and identifying perpetrators online.
“The technological nuances of OSEC are indeed challenging, as we play catch-up to modern-day criminals who change modus at lightning speed. Meticulous case build-up and precision investigations are important to build airtight cases. But expertise doesn’t come overnight. Fortunately, new tools are also available at our disposal such as the Rule on Cyber Warrants, the Revised Rules on Evidence and the Cybercrime Prevention Act,” Guevarra said during the inauguration rites.
Besides Guevarra, UK Ambassador Daniel Pruce, DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar; NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric Distor; UK National Crime Agency representative Jackie Greene; DOJ Assistant Secretary Nicholas Felix Ty; NBI Deputy Directors Ferdinand Lavin, Antonio Pagatpat and Vicente De Guzman; NBI–Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI- AHTRAD) Chief Janet Francisco; and IACAT Executive Director Jinky Dedumo led the formal launch of the Cyber-TIP Center.
Distor said the NBI had exerted twice the effort this year in monitoring social media platforms, addressing online complaints, and managing reports in light of the continued upsurge in OSEC activities since the pandemic started.
The NBI chief noted that since last year, social media platforms have been utilized more frequently in committing child exploitation, be it sexual or otherwise.
“Needless to say, unscrupulous individuals and syndicates have now resorted to online platforms to perpetrate various forms of human trafficking,” he said.
The Cyber-TIP center is equipped with the latest software and hardware tools, and will be operated by law enforcement agents who are provided with the latest training by the UK NCA.
This will help boost the country’s current capabilities in investigation and will greatly aid in the Council’s efforts to capture the perpetrators of OSEC.