The Atom Araullo Specials probes online sexual exploitation of children

Published June 25, 2022, 8:44 AM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

This Sunday (June 26), The Atom Araullo Specials presents a timely and pressing documentary on how and why online sexual abuse and exploitation of children has proliferated and become a silent pandemic.

In the darkest corners of the internet, there are child abusers and sexual predators with skulking eyes. A year ago, The Atom Araullo Specials team began working in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an operation aimed to rescue two siblings, both minors, who are victims of online sexual exploitation of children or OSEC.

This is just one of many cases in the longstanding, rampant and most evolving form of sexual exploitation involving children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has once cited the Philippines as having become the global epicenter of livestream sexual abuse trade of children.

One of the most notorious alleged predators in the country was Peter Scully. Scully was convicted in 2018 of trafficking and rape by a court in Cagayan de Oro. Last year, a foreign national was arrested in Cagayan de Oro City after abusing more than 90 minors. Atom visits the city to investigate the horrors created by these predators.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of online child sex abuse have worsened. According to the PNP, children are exposed to higher risks during the “quarantine” or “lockdown” noting a significant 264% increase of cybersex activities as the country battles the pandemic, with some resorting to “easy money” involving children due to poverty.

Atom visits a center in Cebu where a non-government organization provides a haven for girls who have been rescued out of the evils of online sex trafficking. In addition to basic food, shelter and medical care, they also receive counseling, mentoring, and life skills training. There is an on-site school where the girls will be able to complete junior high school.

Catch The Atom Araullo Specials documentary “Mata sa Dilim” this Sunday (June 26) at 3:30 PM on GMA Network. Kapuso abroad can catch it via GMA Pinoy TV.