By Fr. Shay Cullen
Child protection police working with Interpol and Europol have arrested hundreds of paedophiles in many countries: the UK, other EU countries, Australia, Canada and the USA, for ordering, paying, and viewing Philippine children forced to strip naked and do sexual acts live in front of video cameras connected to computers. These horrific and heinous crimes are generally ignored by the Philippine police, telecommunication companies and the government agencies that are mandated to protect the children. The children are victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and the telecommunications corporations, who are the Internet Service Providers (ISP) that allow it must be held responsible.
The recent revelations by Interpol and police raids on cyber sex dens in Cebu, Manila and Quezon city by the National Bureau of Investigation.(NBI) showed that these crimes are widespread and common practice in the Philippines. In Cordova, Cebu, the village of Ibabao has internet connections and several cyber-sex dens. Parents even sold their children to the cyber sex operators. Such is the level of economic and moral poverty there.
In Manila and Quezon city, fake “call centers” were raided by the NBI and fifteen workers were arrested and charged with sending out child pornography over the internet through the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Every child porn image is evidence of a crime against children. Every time it is sent out and viewed by the paedophiles, that child’s dignity and rights are violated. A recent report made by Pornhub says that more Filipinos are accessing pornography on mobile phones and tablets than ever before, all enabled by the ISPs. (view http://www.preda.org)
Thousands of young children, some from kindergarten, have been and are being sexually and psychologically abused as a result of the illegal and immoral corporate irresponsibility of the ISP’s.
These companies are making vast profits from the child porn peddlers and must be held morally and legally responsible for allowing and enabling these live child sex acts to be viewed live over the internet. The abuse is only possible through connections provided by their corporations. The Philippine Internet Service Provider (ISPs) leaders are: Philippine Long Distance Telephone company (PLDT), Globe, Smart, Sun cellular, and Banyantel. The members of Philippine Internet Services Organization (PISO) are accountable too and must answer to the Filipino people for allowing the crimes against children and the non-implementation of the law. The Council for the Welfare of Children ought to act and speak out and demand the law be obeyed.
The telecommunications companions and PISO seem to have an arrangement not to implement the clear provisions of the law. They have apparently “captured” the regulators and can act with impunity.
Republic Act 9775, under Section 9 says: “The duties of Internet Service Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers, notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISPs shall install available technology, program or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered”. (complete law at http://www.preda.org) Software companies that offer solutions such as Netclean Inc. have been rebuffed.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is supposed to oversee the implementation of the law. The law says that the ISP failing to implement and comply with the law should pay a fine and have its license to operate revoked for non-compliance. But the law is clearly ignored, flouted and disobeyed. If so it is a grave injustice to the Filipino people and children worldwide.
If PISO and the telecommunications companies are implementing the anti-child pornography law, Republic Act 9775, and install the filters and blocking software, there would be little or no cyber-sex or child pornography. But it is widely easily available now, that is where young Filipinos are introduced to sexuality, they are groomed and lured into abusive and damaging situations. Some are video recorded involved in sex acts and are later blackmailed over the internet that can drive them to suicide.
However, the obvious solution to the problem of child pornography is the implementation of the law. The ISPs have put themselves above it and government law enforcers and regulators go along with them. Such is the ISPs power and influence that government and even the media are afraid, docile and subservient to them. Few writers, reporters, if any, expose the non-compliance of the ISPs and telecommunication companies.
Corruption driven by greed to make money even at the peddling of child pornography over the internet kills conscience and moral values. The corporate bosses of the ISPs who enable the transmission of child pornography are perhaps as guilty as the paedophiles who order it on line. We must act now and challenge them to comply and end impunity.