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Warning on cyber sex: Parents liable

By Maricel Cruz | Jan. 19, 2014 at 12:01am

Malacañang on Saturday warned that parents who push their children into child sex rings can be prosecuted for doing so.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued the reminder as lawmakers  prodded concerned agencies to take action on a British report exposing a Philippine syndicate  that has been streaming live scenes of child abuse on the Internet.

Lacierda said the Department of Social Welfare and Development can also take actions to protect minors from such abuse.

He added it is “not acceptable” that parents rear their children to be a source of such income instead of shaping them to become upright citizens.

In the meantime, Lacierda said the appropriate agencies are expected to work closely together against cybersex, including coordinating with tourist establishments.

The tourism industry is a concern for the government because it has to protect minors while avoiding a negative connotation to the Department of Tourism’s slogan that “it’s more fun in the Philippines.”

“It’s fun in a positive way. We don’t want to be identified as a haven where tourists can engage in activities that are illegal and will affect our minors,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lacierda said stakeholders may have to meet  again to thresh out concerns about requiring owners of prepaid SIM cards to register, amid reports the  National Police appealed for the passage of such a measure.

The PNP had said such a measure would help it better address cybercrimes, including offenses against children.

He said that while law enforcement wants the move to curb crimes where perpetrators use disposable SIM cards, there could be privacy issues.

At least two lawmakers nudged the Department of Foreign Affairs  and the National Bureau of Investigation to  act  on the findings of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency expose about a  pedophile ring.

“It is extremely disturbing, in fact terrifying, that our children can be subject to this type of exploitation even from thousands of miles away,” Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez said.

The NCA revealed that it has identified an organized group running a for-profit live stream of sex abuses involving Filipino children, aged between 6-15 years old, whose paying clients hail mostly from developed countries.

NCA said it has been investigating the group since it discovered sexually explicit videos on a convicted pedophile’s computer two years ago.

The operation has taken in 12 countries and led to the arrest of 17 Britons, five of whom have been convicted.

Similarly, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza dismissed as ‘growing threat to the Filipino family’ the child web sex rings even as he called on the  National Police   and other   agencies to prosecute the ‘monsters’.

“I am very disgusted and alarmed over the rising cases of sexual abuse of Filipino children over the internet.  This unconscionable crime poses a real threat to our children and the Filipino family,” said Atienza, member of the House Independent Minority Bloc.

Atienza also reminded government to  address the persistent problem of poverty in the country by providing livelihood, opportunities and education specially in the provinces where the police uncovered the existence of these so called cybersex dens.

Gutierrez said recent report of the National Crime Agency of UK presents a significant opportunity for the Philippine government to crack down on the growing number of online sex abuse and child exploitation in the country

In November 2013, online sex abuse of Filipino children was once again highlighted after Terre Des Hommes, a Netherlands-based children’s rights group snagged 1,000 online sexual predators using a digital decoy, a computer-generated and eerily realistic-looking 10-year-old Filipino girl named Sweetie. With Sara Fabunan

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