Envoys commit to help stop online child abuse

PADDLERS’ MATE. As part of the Philippine-Australian Friendship Day celebration, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson joins the Philippine Accessible Disability Services’ (PADS) adaptive dragon boat racing team at the SRP in Cebu City. (SunStar Photo/Arni Aclao)

THE British and Australian governments have pledged to work with Philippine authorities to stop online sexual abuse of children.

British Ambassador Daniel Pruce on Thursday, May 23, 2019, said the United Kingdom (UK) National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Philippine National Police signed recently a memorandum of understanding in tackling sexual child exploitation and abuse, particularly those committed online.

Pruce said this is one area where “both countries are working already successfully,” and the partnership is powerful in stopping the crime.

“It is a sad fact that the Philippines is one of the world’s leading providers of sexual online content. It’s a sad fact, too, that the UK is one of the leading consumer countries (of this content),” said Pruce.

According to the British ambassador, there are already significant convictions in the UK of individuals who buy or use online sexual content and that other initiatives have been taken to stop such crimes.

Pruce cited the establishment of the first Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (Picacc), a collaborative international effort whose mission is to combat online exploitation of children through an enhanced global response.

In January 2019, the UK NCA trained agents from the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to increase the Philippine law enforcement agencies’ ability to gather evidence against perpetrators.

Picacc is a collaboration among the Philippine National Police Women and Children’s Protection Center, the NBI Anti-Human-Trafficking Division, the Australian Federal Police and the UK NCA in partnership with the non-government organization International Justice Mission.

In a separate briefing on Friday, May 24, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson vowed to help the Philippines in stopping online child pornography.

He said aside from helping the country’s law enforcers deal with terrorism, Australia is also extending help to address online child sexual exploitation, which he described as a “serious problem” faced by both countries.

The online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) is one of the most alarming forms of human trafficking in the Philippines today.

In 2017 alone, the Philippines received 45,645 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTips related to Osec. (KOC)


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