The threat of the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) has not diminished the commitment of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Even during the enhanced community quarantine, the DSWD and its partner agencies continuously conduct dialogues and rescues to ensure the safety of Filipino children online and offline.
Online sexual exploitation of children is a growing crime that requires a coordinated global and national response, especially in these times when children are on lockdown and traffickers and offenders are spending more time online.
To address the concern, the DSWD is closely working with the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation to track and apprehend the perpetrators and rescue the victims.
It is also working with the local government units, especially with the local councils for the protection of children, to increase awareness, prevention, and early detection of these cases.
Rescued victims are placed under DSWD custody and provided with psychosocial interventions.
As the lead agency in social protection, DSWD also provides assistance to trafficked persons under the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons.
In 2019, DSWD has served over 1,600 victims of trafficking of whom 1,297 were female and 395 were male.
DSWD also chairs the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP), created by virtue of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
The IACACP, which comprises government agencies and non-government organizations, advocates for the prevention of online sexual exploitation of children through various platforms, including the formulation of a national response plan for online sexual exploitation of children 2016-2020.
Based on the national response model frame of the WeProtect Global Alliance, the national response plan serves as a guide for government agencies, LGUs, civil society organizations, private sectors, and other stakeholders to address the gaps in prevention, responses, capacity building, policies, and child protection mechanisms, particularly on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
To attain this, the national response plan devised five key result areas on advocacy and prevention; law enforcement and prosecution; protection, recovery, and reintegration; research and management information system; and resource mobilization and partnership.
During this pandemic, the DSWD emphasized it is even more crucial to closely monitor the safety of children even inside their homes.
It also encouraged the community to be vigilant and immediately report to the authorities all forms of abuses against children through these hotlines: DSWD Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons Hotline (02) 8931-9141; text DSWD <space> blockchildporn <space> URL address and send to 2327 or Text blockchildporn <space> URL address and send to 0918-912-2813; Commission on Filipino Overseas TIP Hotline 1343; PNP Patrol 911; PNP Women and Children Protection Center – 0919-777-7377; PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group – (02) 723-0401 local 5354, fax no. (02) 414-1560, and 0926-084-3792; NBI – (02) 523-8231 to 38 local 3454 to 3455; and Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime – (02) 524-82-16. – Press release