Solidarity Message on behalf of UPJA – September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016 - Oble Square Solidarity Message

Good evening, everyone. I’m speaking on behalf of the University of the Philippines Justice Advocates, an organisation on campus dedicated to fighting human trafficking.

In the Philippines — specifically Cebu City — IJM has been focusing on child pornography due to its alarming rate. There is a need to adjust this situation , most especially because it is right here.

Webcam Child Sex Tourism, the exploitation of children by selling them online for pornographic intent. This, in itself, is already a horrible crime. Children are malleable and impressionable, and putting them through something as vile as child prostitution will damage them and will put their well-being in general harm, both physically and psychologically.

Trauma. That’s something they will always struggle with. Feelings of low self-worth and helplessness and worthlessness. Is it not our responsibility to keep them from harm? To protect them? What happened to keeping our children safe? Are they not our future?

There should never be an instance when using children for pornographic purposes is made acceptable. I’ll quote Sarah Norton-Staal, Chief of Child Protection at Unicef Philippines here.

“‘Child pornography’ is a misnomer – the phrase implies that the sexual exploitation of children is subset of a (mostly) legal industry. Any children under the age of 18 who are used for pornographic performances or materials are victims.”
As she has said, they are victims. And they need to be saved. And those who could end up in the same situation because of marginalisation as well. Before that happens, it should be prevented.

And as Sarah Norton-Staal has also said, “Any image or video of child abuse is documented evidence of a crime in process. The production and distribution of these child sexual abuse and exploitation materials – whether in print, online, or live-streamed – represent a violation of fundamental human rights, and these children need to be protected.”

Just like EJK and Martial Law, there has been injustice done to our society.

Injustice. The wrong never righted. Trauma from things past and present.

A broken society. That’s what we will get if this continues. That’s what the future will inherit.

So we encourage all of you to fight against these issues, especially Webcam Child Sex Tourism.