MANILA, Philippines, 10 February 2020 – Today, the SaferKidsPH Consortium, consisting of the Asia Foundation, Save the Children Philippines, the Government of Australia, led by UNICEF, supports the Government of the Philippines in observing Safer Internet Day. The Safer Internet Day raises awareness on pressing and emerging cases of online sexual exploitation against children.
The Philippines is one of the top global sources of child sex abuse materials. In 2018 alone, 600,000 sexualized photos of Filipino children were bartered and traded. The Philippine Kids Online Survey found that 90% of Filipino children can access the internet whenever they want or need to, and 59% connect to the internet without supervision. It also revealed that 2 in 10 children are vulnerable to be victims of child online sexual exploitation and abuse.
The SaferKidsPH Consortium aims to support the current efforts of the Philippine Government, including the coming together of the National Bureau of Immigration, Philippine National Police, and foreign law enforcers through the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) that investigates, and rescues children victimized by online sexual exploitation.
In observance of the Safer Internet Day in the Philippines, the SaferKidsPH Consortium urges the Government for strengthened implementation of the laws to protect children online. One such aspiration is the immediate adoption of the Child Online Safeguarding Policy (COSP) guaranteed by the Free Wi-Fi in Public Places Act and to be implemented by the Department of Information and Communications Technology. The COSP is meant to provide protection to children who will access the Free Wi-Fi in communities because mechanisms and standards such as blacklisting and warnings in the captive portals are to be standardized and easily accessible, so that children and their parents will be informed of the risks when navigating the cyberspace and how to report when online harm is experienced.
SaferKidsPH is a six-year (2019-2025) initiative, that aims to create a safer environment for children, we call on the Government, NGOs, Communities, Parents, Caregivers and young people to play an active role in; (1) adopting positive behaviour towards protection of children from online abuse and exploitation, (2) strengthening investigation, prosecution and adjudication of OSAEC cases consistent with national legislation, and (3) improving service delivery for prevention and protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation in OSAEC hotspots.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.