On 5 April 2005, Carol Bellamy, executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund, joined Secretary Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to launch the findings of a new study, "Child Pornography in the Philippines."
The study found extensive evidence that child pornography is occurring in the Philippines as a result of both foreign and domestic perpetrators seeking to exploit poor and vulnerable families and children.
One of the most worrisome findings is the link between local producers and networks of pornographers operating overseas for the purposes of distributing child pornography over the Internet. The study was commissioned by UNICEF and conducted by the Programme on Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights of the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Developmental Studies (UP CIDS).
Dr. Nicholas Alipui, Country Representative of UNICEF Philippines, explains: "We commissioned this study because of persistent rumors and anecdotes, mainly coming from the experience of children themselves, who have been trafficked and forced into prostitution. Digital technology, with its obvious attractions for children, can facilitate recruitment of kids into this practice. It can also be seen as a 'safer' form of prostitution."
The study details the way Internet technology makes it difficult for officials to monitor and investigate the criminal practice. It is increasingly clear that un-chaperoned Internet use by children leaves them vulnerable to child pornographers through e-mail, chat rooms, web sites, web cameras and Internet cafes. Digital cameras and mobile phones equipped with cameras are also reported as being used to produce and disseminate child pornography.
It is reported that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are resistant to divulging personal information of users suspected of being pornographers or pedophiles. In addition, credit card companies do not make sufficient efforts to assist in law enforcement citing privacy rights.
Bellamy noted the need for better cooperation with countries that harbor many of these criminals. The study highlights numerous challenges in the fight against child pornography.
Among these are:
Several measures on child pornography are pending before the Philippine Congress.
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