Contradanyc.com – Sexual Harassment. Eric, a child who lives in Manila, Philippines, tells about his dream of flying a rainbow-colored rocket to Saturn. He recently lost his baby teeth but he is still too small for his age, quoted from BBC News, Tuesday (29/11/2022).
“What did you cry about during therapy?” asked the social worker. “I wept for my parents,” he said, looking down at the ground.
Fedalyn Marie Baldo has spent months with Eric, Maria (Eric’s 10 year old sister), and their two older brothers to help her understand that their childhood was not a normal one.
Sexual Harassmentb For years, while their neighborhood ‘sleeps’, the four children are forced to perform live sex shows for pedophiles around the world.
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They were raped and repeatedly sexually abused on camera by their mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles who also joined in.
It was the children’s father who finally reported his wife and family to the police, allegedly after a dispute occurred. Investigators traced payments to the family from accounts in England and Switzerland.
A few months later, Eric, his brother and sister end up at the charity Preda, which focuses on helping child survivors of sexual abuse.
It was also Baldo’s job for 17 years. By then, child sexual abuse images and videos had blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines, which is now the world’s largest known source of exploitation.
Dire poverty, high-speed internet access and the ability to receive instructions in English kept the case moving.
Then came the pandemic. More than two years of lockdowns and some of the world’s longest school closures have left vulnerable children stuck at home with cash-strapped parents desperate to make money.
A recent study by UNICEF and Save the Children estimated that around one in five Filipino children is at risk of sexual exploitation, putting the dismal figure closer to two million.
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Baldo fears sexual harassment is becoming “normal” in the Philippines and may become endemic in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods.
President Bongbong Marcos has declared an “all-out war” against child Sexual Harassment and its related industry. Ironically, so far, the war has not been won by the Philippines.
By dawn in Manila, a team from the National Bureau of Investigation had gathered near the grave.
Among the tombstones in the densely populated city, a family lives among the dead. A 36-year-old mother uses her cell phone in a small wooden hut built atop some of the largest monuments in the cemetery.
She was texting a customer she thought was from Australia asking for a live sex show involving her three children. Actually, the message was sent to an undercover police officer.
The moment he turned on the camera, about a dozen officers rushed through the narrow street to raid his home.
He put up no resistance as the female officers took the children to safety. Other officers recovered evidence: sex toys, smartphones, and receipts detailing overseas payments which turned out to be Sexual Harassment.
Like many of these arrests, this one was also the result of information from abroad.
According to a BBC report, the Australian Federal Police say they arrested a man at the airport with a storage device full of explicit child abuse videos.
His cell phone allegedly contained messages between him and a woman in the Philippines asking for money in exchange for the video.
The operation then took decades to plan the two arrests. One in Manila and one in Sydney.
Australian officials say they have recorded a 66% increase in reports of child exploitation in the past year.
They are working with teams from the International Justice Mission, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the Dutch National Police, as well as officers in the Philippines, to try to find child sex offenders.
Once they identified them, they tried to trace the source of the materials. But often, the only way abuse is reported is when the child comes forward. Even that was a long way.
Some social workers said they spent days, even weeks, pressing local police to rescue the children and press charges against the parents.
“Sometimes we get the cooperation of law enforcement authorities, other times the actions of people who are supposed to really protect children are delayed. But we have to work around that,” said Emmanuel Drewery of Preda.
It is feared that harassment will occur from generation to generation
The organization first established an orphanage for girls in the 1970s near the port city of Olongapo, which was once home to an American naval base.
In the past, the site was a center for illegal prostitution tourism between foreign men and Filipino girls who are often teenagers and trafficked into the industry, or young women driven into the sex trade due to family pressure and economic desperation.
Years later, social workers fear that much of the sexual abuse here is hereditary, that many of the children’s mothers were also raped or sexually abused. They believe their view is: “It happened to me, I did this to survive and you should too.”
Pastor Shay Cullen, president of Preda, has been fighting for the rights of abused children in the Philippines since 1974. He wants a global solution to this new, growing problem.
“There must be international law. This is the only way. All national governments must strictly curtail internet companies. They must work together to limit the inclusion of child abuse material and the online streaming of child sexual abuse content.”
He agreed, at this time there was a gradual change. However, that is only one part of the war. For organizations like Preda, the bigger struggle lies in rehabilitating children.