By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The absence of one singular law that would penalize online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) actually has its advantage, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
During the “Tanggol Karapatan” talk about OSEC held on Saturday morning held with Radyo Veritas, CHR Commissioner Leah Tanodra-Armamento said that there are a multitude of laws that victims of OSEC can use to their advantage.
When she was still a prosecutor for the Department of Justice (DOJ), Tanodra-Armamento said that perpetrators of online sexual abuse were prosecuted in different laws. She cited R.A. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; Section 31 of the Magna Carta of Women; R.A. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003; and R.A.10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“Pwede mo kasuhan sa lahat ng batas (You can penalize the perpetrator using all the laws). They do not cancel each other so it is to the advantage of the child,” she said.
The DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (OOC) reported recently that there has been a spike of OSEC cases because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). There were 279,166 incidents reported from March 1 to May 24.
Tanodra-Armamento said that local government units (LGUs) have been more concerned about stopping the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and distribution of relief goods to pay much attention to OSEC cases.
CHR’s Bing Diaz said it is ultimately up to the children’s parents to catch this “hidden crime.” She said it is a very complicated case, and it is actually difficult to detect children who are victims of OSEC.
She encouraged parents to keep an eye out on children while at home, even if they have to be “usyoso” (curious) about it.