Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OSEC) in the Philippines FACTSHEET
Updated: Feb 26
Arise began its work in the Philippines in 2015 and opened its office in Dagupan at the end of 2020. Since then, Arise has been growing its network, while listening and learning from local anti-slavery groups.
The prevalence of slavery and human trafficking in the Philippines is inextricable from broader issues of poverty, inequality and the remittance economy. Traffickers lure people in with the promise of an opportunity (a "job" overseas or an "education" in the city) that many victims cannot afford to refuse. Migration, remittances, rural-urban inequality and resulting recruitment agencies and movement of people are all aspects of the socio-economic fabric that traffickers leverage.
Traffickers create their own "opportunities" from contexts of scarcity, capitalising on others' vulnerability. 83% of cases of online child sexual exploitation in the Philippines are carried out by family members, indicating that poverty has embedded the issue of slavery in households and communities. Responding to slavery therefore requires a comprehensive and grassroots approach. It requires providing viable alternatives to high-risk groups, through awareness, education, skills development and employment.
During COVID-19, existing vulnerabilities to trafficking have been exacerbated by rising poverty, school closures and the global "move" online. Arise's work in the Philippines is led by the experience and insight of our frontline network. Everything we seek to achieve will be with them and through them. Their reports during the pandemic have led us to look into online child sexual exploitation, what drives it, and how networks might address it as part of the broader slavery landscape.
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