Following the exacerbation of online sexual exploitation of children cases in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing again for the institutionalization of a “Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program” to protect Filipino children and youth from the different forms of trafficking.
Earlier, Gatchalian sounded the alarm over students holding a “Christmas sale” of lewd photos and videos for as low as P 150 to raise funds for distance- learning expenses.
In Senate Bill 735 or “the Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program Act,” Gatchalian proposed a program that will orient the youth about the dangers of human trafficking’s various forms, including prostitution and pornography.
It also aims to inform the youth on the services provided by government agencies and non-governmental organizations to aid and protect the victims of human trafficking.
Gatchalian’s proposed preventive education program has a school-based component that covers junior high schools, senior high schools, 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 barangay level.
Between March 1 smf May 24 in 2020, the CyberTipline reports on the 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.
Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said this surge was observed amid the imposition of quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the economic hardships that followed.
Prior to the pandemic, the United Nations Children’s Fund identified the Philippines as the global epicenter of the live stream sexual abuse trade.