The survey by Unicef and the Philippine Council for the Welfare of Children had harrowing findings: Eight of 10 Filipino youth are subjected to one form of abuse or another. Among children and youth aged 13-24, one in five had been sexually abused, with over 60 percent of the cases occurring in their own homes. This first ever study, known as the National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (NBS-VAC), tells us how bad things have gotten.
A glance at the past reinforces the horror. In 2015, Taguig City police managed to rescue eight girls aged 13-18 from a house where they had been forced to engage in sexual acts for online viewers in countries such as Japan and the United States; among the adults arrested was the mother of three of the children. The mastermind, a 33-year-old man, had been charging viewers $50 to $100. Earlier that year, a 51-year-old Australian was arrested for sexually abusing eight girls, even killing one of them. In 2014, Navotas City authorities, with the aid of an agent from the US Department of Homeland Security, rescued four young girls and arrested two suspected cybersex traffickers. In 2014 the town of Cordova in Metro Cebu was tagged “ground zero of online child pornography.” As one official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas said, “village officials know that it is happening but they have not done anything.”