MOST of the sexual exploitation cases handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Northern Mindanao observed that the parents were the ones who commit the abuses.
According to Marylou Aniñon, social welfare officer-2 and focal person for recovery and reintegration program for trafficked persons, the parents of rescued children being exploited were aware of what they have done to their children.
“Yung parents mismo ang nagpa-facilitate for the abuse. So sila yung nagte-take ng pictures, sila yung nagpapahubad, sila yung nagpapagawa sa mga anak nila,” Aniñon said.
(It’s the parents that facilitate the abuse. They were the ones taking pictures, made them naked, do things they want to do with their children)
While some of the parents deny the allegations despite the evidences, the DSWD officer said that there were also some who reasoned out that they were only doing the illegal act due to poverty.
The arrested parents, Aniñon said, were filed with four charges: violations against Republic Act (RA) 10364 or Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012; RA 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009; RA 7610 or Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and RA 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
DWSD in Northern Mindanao is now raising awareness against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in the region.
Aniñon said that DSWD has reported less than 100 OSEC cases and 128 human trafficking cases in Northern Mindanao.
“Dito sa region, there are 22 of them na for rescue pa (In the region, there were 22 human trafficking cases that were rescued.. They were brought to Pangasinan. We are still coordinating sa (in the) field office 1 para matulungan silang makauwi (so they can be helped to be able to come home),” Aniñon said.
In Iligan City, 52 children were rescued in years 2015, 2017 and 2018. In January 2019, there were six children rescued, Aniñon said.
Aniñon said, adding that most of the children rescued were living in the area.
In Cagayan de Oro City, on the other hand, DSWD reported less than 10 OSEC cases in 2018.
Aniñon said the parents of these children were the ones who facilitated the crime.
The rescued children were put in the custody of the DSWD and were undergoing rehabilitation process.
The DSWD has intensified its advocacy campaign against OSEC through information dissemination via caravan and barangay approach.
Aniñon added that they were also coordinating with the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) for the OSEC and human trafficking awareness to be included in their family development sessions.