Save the Children Philippines: Enactment of Anti-online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children Law

Save the Children Philippines lauds the enactment of Republic Act 11930 or “Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act” which strengthens the protection of children against OSAEC.

According to the 2016 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, 1 in 2 Filipino children experience online abuse. The Department of Justice (DOJ) – Office of Cybercrime recorded 418,422 cyber tips in 2019, which increased by 260% in 2020 since the start of the pandemic.

children stock unsplashPhoto by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

In April 2022, 20% of internet-using children aged 12-17 in the Philippines were reported as victims of grave instances of online sexual exploitation and abuse. This includes being blackmailed to engage in sexual activities, sharing their sexual images without permission, or being coerced to engage in sexual activities in exchange for money or gifts.

With the passage of this law, the Philippines as State Party complies with the recommendations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation – both offline and online.

Save the Children, however, recognizes that the enactment of the law is just a step towards stronger advocacy for child protection from all forms of violence. We need all hands on deck if we are to achieve this goal. Hence, we call on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the DOJ to immediately formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations, clarifying the obligations and accountabilities of internet service providers, social media networks, and other platforms. There must also be a stronger push to disseminate safe and inclusive reporting and referral mechanisms.

We also call on local government officials and other stakeholders to enact local ordinances on OSAEC so they can fulfill their obligations to protect all children in their communities every day and in times of crisis, and concretize the policies into actual child protection-related programs, projects, and activities that are included in local development plans and budgets.

We also encourage tech companies, experts, and organizations to develop and implement effective ways to detect and prevent OSAEC in live streams and online engagements.

Save the Children commits to continue upholding the rights of every child. By working together with organizations and stakeholders who believe that children deserve to live in a safe and humane society, we can turn our shared vision into reality.

Save the Children Philippines CEO, Atty. Albert Muyot, said:

“As much as this is a huge win for us, much work also remains as we continue to live in a time where we are increasingly reliant on digital technology. We must continue to safeguard our children at all times in our homes, schools, communities, and online. Save the Children remains committed to working with the government, our civil society, and community partners, including children, in raising awareness on OSAEC, educating children and adults on safe online practices, and ensuring that this law will be fully implemented.”

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