MANILA — A lawmaker has urged the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to launch a unified and massive campaign against the cyber-trafficking of Filipino women and children for sexual exploitation.
In a statement on Thursday, DIWA Party-List Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar stressed the need for a whole-of-society approach to prevent human trafficking, especially of women and children.
“The illegal recruitment of women and children for forced labor trafficking and sexual exploitation continues, and we need a whole-of-society approach to be able to stop these crimes,” she said.
“We need to launch a massive campaign against the online sexual exploitation of women and children to get rid of cybersex dens that operate in secret across the archipelago,” she added.
Aglipay-Villar said that while the Philippines retained its Tier 1 status in the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, much still needs to be done in reducing the demand for commercial acts that involve child sex tourism and online sexual exploitation of children.
A Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
“While we welcome the retention of the Philippines in Tier 1 based on the US State Department’s 2017 Trafficking-in-Persons Report, we note the concerns raised over the online sexual exploitation of Filipino children,” Aglipay-Villar said.
According to the 2017 TIP report, it was recommended that the Philippines needs to develop programs and aftercare services directed at helping male victims of human trafficking to include provisions for shelters.
It also recommended that aftercare services be extended to children used as combatants and camp workers by various rebel groups.
“Upon resumption of Congress, the House committee on women and gender equality will review these recommendations and check whether all or some of them were acted upon or are now being seriously considered by the Philippine government,” said the lawmaker.