The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating reports that some students have been selling their lewd photos on the Internet to finance their online classes amid the economic hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PNP chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas said he has already directed the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to intensify the monitoring and intelligence-gathering against any transaction involving personalities and syndicates on the Internet.
But Sinas admitted that there is a problem on police intervention on the problem since any action may cross the line on the aspect of privacy of the people involved, including the victims.
“This is difficult because it may involve personal accounts that we have no right to intervene on. Until such time that there are complainants, or complaints that they are being exploited, we cannot just make some interventions,” said Sinas.
The chief PNP was reacting to the expose of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian of the alleged modus operandi in which some students have been selling nude photos which are eventually posted on some Internet portals.
The students were reportedly forced to do so to buy gadgets and finance other school expenses via online classes that include payment of Internet bills.
Between March 1 to May 24 last year, Gatchalian said there were 279,166 cases of online sexual exploitation of children recorded in Metro Manila. This was a 264 percent increase from the 76,561 cases recorded from the same period last year.
Sinas said they are yet to receive reports about Gatchalian’s expose.