A legislator from the Bicol region on Saturday urged the House of Representatives to immediatey pass a measure that includes online sexual abuse and exploitation among the crimes punishable under the Human Trafficking Act of 2003.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte said the substitute bill on the measure that was already approved by a House panel aims to attune Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking Act of 2003 to the times as rapid changes in digital technology led to new ways for sexual abusers and human traffickers to scout for victims.
The substitute bill, which consolidates Villafuerte’s proposal with those of similar measures sponsored separately by his fellow legislators, was endorsed for plenary approval by Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on the welfare of children.
“In the same way that human traffickers are now taking advantage of new technologies to exploit women and children and other potential victims, we should also strengthen our law enforcement capabilities to go after these criminals by also using available modern methods and technologies in hunting them down,” Villafuerte said.
“It also aims to obligate internet service providers and tourism-oriented establishments to notify law enforcement agencies within 7 days of any form of child trafficking, child pornography, or any form of sexual exploitation of children committed under their facilities,” he added.
Under the committee-approved version, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation or any of their representatives duly authorized by the Department of Justice in writing, can submit ex-parte applications for the issuance of written orders from the court to conduct “wiretapping” or interception on any communication in pursuing the crime of trafficking.