UNICEF: PH still among top sources of child pornography

Alexander Villafania, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2016 04:43 PM | Updated as of Jun 08 2016 11:19 PM

Philippines remains to be among the world's top sources of child pornography and is one of the "worst-affected countries in Asia-Pacific for online abuse," the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said. 

In a statement released Tuesday, UNICEF raised the alarm over child pornography in the Philippines, citing cases where even parents help "arrange sexual abuse of children on camera." 

“We need to raise awareness and vigilance of this issue, so that parents and others understand that child abuse – in any form – is not just morally wrong, it is also extremely harmful to children’s health and development,” Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in the Philippines said. 

Sylwander said "the situation is getting worse, not better,” as several children around the Philippines continue to participate in webcam "shows" where they earn P150 per appearance. 

"The cost to their health and well-being is much greater. In later life, they are more likely to have mental health problems, not attend or drop out of school, to attempt suicide, and to engage in high-risk behaviors," Sylwander added. 

Sylwander noted that live stream of child sexual abuse is more prevalent these days. 

UNICEF Associate Director of Child Protection, Cornelius Williams pointed out that while "internet and mobile phones have revolutionized young people’s access to information," the technology also increased the risk for online abuse. 

In fact, at least 8 in 10 of Filipino youth is at risk of online sexual abuse and bullying, according to a UNICEF study. 

The UNICEF-IPSOS Perils and Possibilities: Growing up online also said that 5 out of 10 children think that friends join in risky activities while on the Internet. 

The study, released Tuesday, surveyed a total of 434 18-year-olds from the cities of Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Angeles.

The report finds that more than two-thirds of girls, or 67 per cent, strongly agree they would be worried if they received sexual comments or requests over the internet; this compares to 47 per cent of boys.

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