HomeNewsIn the Philippines, the lost children to online rape

    In the Philippines, the lost children to online rape

    Their little hands have shredded the seats on which these three children were sitting. The floor of the playroom is strewn with yellow foam. For an hour, seating on their footstools, Diwa, 11, her 8-year-old adopted brother and her 6-year-old cousin told the unspeakable. How their parents raped them for Europeans who were watching live on the Internet and buying their humiliation in the confines of a house in a city on the largest island in the Philippines. Their story, mumbled between tears and hesitations in Tagalog – the local language, brings out English words: “Sex-toy,” “Paypal,” “Daddy Dave”… In the room, the tropical heat of December makes the air unbreathable , unless it is the thickness of the trauma of these children.

    Diwa, center, surrounded by her little cousin (left) and her adopted brother (right).  They testify about the rapes they suffered, in the playroom of the Preda Foundation that took them in, in the Olongapo region, Philippines, on December 10, 2022.

    It is a crime still unknown in France and in full expansion. French police officers speak of “live streaming,” “a phenomenon that appeared in 2012 which consists of broadcasting by webcam for commercial purposes videos of sexual violence committed by adults on children. The sponsor often prescribes a scenario of the facts to match the realization of his fantasies. An industry particularly developed in South Asian countries, where this activity is an alternative to poverty,” they analyze in an internal report. Filipinos prefer the acronym “OSEC” – Online Sexual Exploitation of Children – to the term “child pornography,” which could imply any consent of the child to the abuse.

    In the Philippines, the International Justice Mission (IJM), an international organization at the forefront of the fight against such violence, claims to “bring the criminals to justice”. It warns about the disturbing statistics of live streaming, which have tripled in three years. In a 2020 report, the IJM writes that reports come eight times more from the Philippines than from other “producing” countries, such as Brazil, Mexico or India. In 41% of cases, the rapes are committed by biological parents, and in 42% by close relatives, making it a most incestuous crime.

    Eleven thousand kilometers away, in Nanterre, France, the Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons (OCRVP) is investigating some forty cases involving French citizens and Filipino children. Three hundred of these cases are pending before the courts.

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    From sidewalks to social networks

    Container ships sail gently across Subic Bay. At its peak, the cove was home to the second largest US military installation abroad, a rear base for the Vietnam War, where planes were repaired and conscripts entertained. Since its closure in 1992, tourists have replaced the soldiers. The nearby town of Olongapo has become a popular resort for its white sand beaches and turquoise water.

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