The SaferKidsPH consortium, a composed of UNICEF, The Asia Foundation, and Save the Children Philippines, in partnership with the Australian Embassy, lauded the Philippine government’s enactment of Republic Act No. 11930, otherwise known as the “Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act.”
The new law will strengthen the country’s response to addressing the rising vulnerability and victimization of Filipino children by online predators.
The 2022 Disrupting Harm in the Philippines study by UNICEF Office of Research, Interpol, and ECPAT International, reported 20% of internet-using children aged 12-17 had experienced online sexual abuse and exploitation in 2021.
The 2019 Philippine Kids Online Survey, conducted by UNICEF with support from the Philippine Government and the SaferKidsPH Program, found more than half of Filipino children surveyed can access the Internet without supervision, and boys are as vulnerable as girls to online dangers.
The Department of Justice-Office of Cybercrime reported an increasing trend in cyber tip reports of CSAEM attributed to the Philippines which ballooned to 2.8 million in 2021 from 1.2 million in 2020 and 400,000 in 2019.
The passage of Republic Act No. 11930 positions the Philippines as one of the first countries in East Asia and the Pacific region to have an institutionalized and collaborative approach to prevention and response against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
This law strengthens the protection measures to match the technological and digital advancements since the passage of the Anti-Child Pornography Act in 2009. It provides a clear definition of OSAEC which includes the combined use of offline and online means to abuse and exploit children sexually.
Further, this law was developed in collaboration with the private sector such as internet service providers and telecommunications companies to ensure there is viable infrastructure and available technological capacity to prevent, detect, and block off CSAEM found online.
The law is equity focused which ensures that child protection services and interventions are responsive to the needs of children with disabilities.
Moving forward, the SaferKidsPH consortium will continue to work together with the Philippine government, especially the National Coordination Center against OSAEC and CSAEM under the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking which is now mandated to develop and implement the necessary programs to prevent the commission of OSAEC and CSAEM as well as protect, heal, and help bring back the child into the community and society.
The consortium remains committed to support the meaningful implementation of this legislation and the full protection that children deserve.
SaferKidsPH, an Australian Government initiative, is delivered through the pioneering consortium of Save the Children Philippines, The Asia Foundation, and UNICEF to reduce the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines. SaferKidsPH works with children and their families, the Philippine Government, civil society and the private sector to ensure that children are safe and protected online.