Children protecting children: Young warriors get together to fight online sexual exploitation

Yes, you can be someone else’s hero.

Even when most children feel they are powerless when it comes to issues that affect their welfare and well-being, a group of young people gathered together to develop a “league” that would fight against sexual exploitation of children (OSEC).


In celebration of Safer Internet Day, children of Cagayan De Oro City on Tuesday, Feb. 9, launched a month-long #OSECWarriorsCDO campaign.

Led by youth themselves, the campaign hopes to “raise public awareness to make the internet safer for children” while harnessing children's leadership and championing children's voices to #ShutdownOSEC in their communities.

Likewise, the campaign also aims to “amplify messages to different stakeholders to be warriors of change and prioritize action towards improving interventions” for victims and survivors of OSEC.

As part of the campaign's preparation, children and youth leaders attended sessions on socio-emotional learning and (SEL) and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and underwent advocacy and communication training.

They have also equipped themselves with knowledge and skills in developing different communication materials such as drawing and storytelling, news writing, mobile photography, and basic videography.

This February, the Kaabag sa Kalambuan pinaagi sa Kabtangan sa Katilingban (KKKK), a civil society organization based in Cagayan De Oro City working with ChildFund Philippines, and alongside all partners will feature youth's work on their respective social media platforms to magnify their advocacy messages on child online protection and prevention of OSEC.

“The idea of #OSECWarriorsCDO campaign came about after an advocacy and communication training for youth where they shared reflections on their critical role in ending OSEC and the power of their voice in championing change,” said ChildFund Philippines' Country Director Federico Albertini. “Then the Children and Youth-led OSEC Summit came about,” he added.

By the end of February, the campaign will culminate with a Children and Youth Summit on Online Safety and Prevention of OSEC in Cagayan De Oro City, co-hosted by the city’s local government, KKKK and ChildFund Philippines through the initiative called “Project Children AWARE: Children promoting for Advocacy to Work together Against the Rise of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children.”

Through Project Children AWARE, Albertini said that ChildFund and its partner KKKK “intentionally place children at the driver seat in designing and implementing responsive advocacy work more effectively.”

Project Children AWARE is a UK Embassy Manila-funded advocacy project implemented with and through the children and youth leaders from Cagayan De Oro City with the support from KKKK, Xavier Science Foundation, and ChildFund Philippines.

ChildFund Philippines is a child-focused NGO serving children, youth and their families in the Philippines since the 1970s. It works alongside local partners in over 21 provinces in the country to ensure that children and youth are safe, healthy, educated, and skilled.

Its primary advocacy is on promoting children's and youths' rights and preventing child labor and online sexual exploitation. ChildFund Philippines’ recent work with the Philippine government, NGO partners, private sectors, the media, and child protection champions resulted in the #ShutdownOSEC campaign, introducing OSEC-targeted congressional bills and the increased engagement of OSEC media coverage.