Thursday, August 7, 2014
Stronger Links with Int’l Organizations, Vital to Combat Cybersex Trafficking—Legarda
MANILA-Alarmed with the proliferation of cyber sex trafficking, Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the importance of forging stronger partnerships with international police organizations to combat this form of human trafficking.
Legarda made the statement as she lamented that the crime has degraded family values as parents themselves sell their own children online.
“We need to find more ways to immediately combat cybersex because evidently, it is affecting the very core of our society, which is the family. Parents are supposed to teach their children good values, but why are there mothers and fathers who willingly sell their children online and make them perform lewd acts in exchange for money? Nothing, not even poverty, can justify such acts,” said Legarda.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), with assistance from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the International Justice Mission, recently raided a house in Taguig City and rescued two children from their own mother while caught in the act of prodding her children to perform lewd acts online.
Legarda has stood up in the Senate several times to speak about the issue saying that, “If children can no longer feel secure and protected in their own homes, then something is terribly wrong in our society. We need to put an end to these kinds of abuses.”
The Senator said that due to the complexity of the crime, it is important that links with international police organizations are strengthened.
“Strengthened cooperation and improved coordination of the NBI with international police groups have led to previous successful operations against cyber pornography. We must sustain these gains and ensure the proper implementation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to combat this crime,” she said.
Legarda, principal sponsor of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, explained that under the law, harboring a child for purposes of prostitution or production of pornographic materials is considered trafficking. Furthermore, the crime is not plain trafficking but qualified trafficking when the offender is the parent, guardian or someone who exercises authority over the child. Any person found guilty of qualified trafficking shall serve life imprisonment.
In line with this, Legarda also pushed for the immediate passage of two proposed measures that will boost efforts against cyber pornography—the Anti-Computer Pornography Act (Senate Bill No. 532) and the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act (Senate Bill No. 1902).
The Anti-Computer Pornography Act seeks to protect minors from indecent and immoral material transmitted through electronic mail and other electronic media. Acts such as transmitting or offering to transmit information that contains indecent materials to a minor and providing access to transmission of said materials to a minor shall be deemed punishable.
Meanwhile, the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act aims to strengthen the powers and functions of the NBI through a reorganization of its offices to streamline activities. It likewise seeks to modernize the investigative program through acquisition of state-of-the-art intelligence and forensic equipment.
The measure also seeks to ensure the maintenance of elite and competent personnel through the provision of competitive compensation packages, including training, insurance benefits and scholarship grants for the bureau’s agents and employees.
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