Press Release
May 18, 2021

Hontiveros urges tech giants to strengthen policies against online sexual exploitation of children

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged technology and social media giants to lead research and development that could help stop online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

"OSAEC cases are only seen to rise if tech giants don't initiate major interventions themselves. Tech companies have a responsibility to police and monitor their platforms, where these unspeakable crimes are committed. Sila ang may malalim na kaalaman tungkol sa kanilang teknolohiya, kaya sila rin ang inaasahan nating makapagbigay ng matibay at pangmatagalang solusyon," the senator said.

Hontiveros, the principal author of Senate Bill No. 2068 or the Anti-OSAEC Law, is set to sponsor the measure today, May 18 at the Senate plenary. She said this bill is an urgent call for more protections for our children.

The bill imposes larger duties for internet service providers and social media platforms. ISPs are required to notify the Philippine National Police or National Bureau of Investigation if any form of OSAEC is being committed in their facility or server, while social media platforms are obliged to develop and adapt a system for preventing, detecting, and reporting OSAEC violations committed within their platforms.

"There is no foolproof technology that can detect livestreamed child sexual abuse, for instance, making it difficult for our law enforcement officers to identify perpetrators. They still typically rely on reports and intelligence from the community, rather than use technology itself to crack down on cases," Hontiveros said.

"We will not see a significant change in our fight against OSAEC if our technology to catch abusers is not faster than the technology used to perpetrate the abuse. We need to outpace abusers. Ang trend ng OSAEC ay pataas ng pataas, lalo pa ngayong marami ang gumagamit ng internet, kaya dapat double time tayo sa pagsugpo sa karumaldumal na kaganapang ito," the senator added.

According to Relief Web, cases of OSAEC increased by 246.6% or 202,605 more reports during the enhanced community quarantine, from March to May 2020. The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking also reported that the number of OSEC cases rose to 1.2 million in 2020.

"Law enforcement officers, civil society organizations, the private sector, and community members have worked hand in hand to curb OSAEC. May mga tagumpay na tayo. May mga narescue nang mga bata at nabigyan ng panibagong pag-asa. While we celebrate these victories, we must continue to triple our efforts to end OSAEC, to bring abusers to justice, and most of all, to keep our children safe," Hontiveros concluded.

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