Binay seeks probe on sexual exploitation of children during COVID-19 lockdown

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 07:04 PM

Sen. Nancy Binay reviews documents before the Senate resumes its session on May 4, 2020. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Nancy Binay has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate the reported sexual exploitation of children during the nearly 2-month long lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Department of Justice earlier recorded 279,166 cases of child exploitation between March 1, 2020 and May 24, 2020, which is 264 percent higher than the 76,561 reports made in the same period in 2019.

"Online child sex abuse is largely a family-based crime meaning home is the place of vulnerability and exploitation, rather than a place of safety," Binay said in Senate Resolution No. 434 filed on June 1, 2020.

The enhanced community quarantine "posed a barrier to detection because children have almost no access to teachers or community members to whom they may disclose abuse or display signs of abuse," she said.

The Senate needs to "look into this matter to protect Filipino children from all forms of violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect," the senator said, noting that the "rise in mobile phone ownership had fueled live streamed abuse" in the Philippines.

Last month, the Philippines was identified as the "world's largest known source of online child sexual exploitation," according to rights group International Justice Mission.

The combination of English fluency and high internet connectivity in the former US colony had helped make the country a "global hotspot" for child pornography, according to the group's 7-year study.