Localizing response to prevent online sexual exploitation of children
MANILA, Philippines – In 2016, UNICEF dubbed the Philippines as the global epicenter of the live-stream sexual abuse trade – an indication that online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is an issue that plagues Filipinos of all ages.
Forms of OSEC that are prevlent in the country include live streaming videos of children performing sexual acts, coercion of pimps in internet cafes or parents at home, and trafficking and trapping children in ‘cyber dens.’
Responding to this pressing problem, organizations have collaborated to develop ‘AlamBaU,’ an online hub that provides resources for educating, supporting, and connecting stakeholders from different age brackets in the fight against OSEC.
AlamBaU provides audience-specific materials on preventing OSEC that target 4 demographics: kids, teens, parents, and teachers.
“We designed the contents of AlamBaU.ph – the tone and language used, and the form it is presented – in such way that would effectively reach different audiences, keeping in mind their different attitudes and behaviors online; we actually tested the materials with its intended audience,” Dakila OIC-Executive Director Rash Caritativo said.
The website was developed by Dakila and The Asia Foundation, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. New developments to the AlamBaU website were announced on Tuesday, June 26, in Hotel Jen Manila, Pasay City.
According to Caritativo, the developers recognized the varying stakes that the respective age brackets have on the OSEC issue, therefore they designed the content for each sector according to tone, language, and form.
“AlamBaU.ph was a localized response to the need of Filipinos to understand the Internet and the risks attached to its use. With the growing threats to children, especially online, it is imperative that stakeholders, especially parents and teachers, have access to tools and knowledge that can enable them to protect children active on the internet,” Caritativo added.
Caritativo explained that this method “would effectively reach different audiences, keeping in mind their different attitudes and behaviors online.”
The site’s other features include the following:
Resources page (downloadable Department of Education-approved cyber safety modules and kits)
Upload tool (for resource-sharing)
Directory of relevant national authorities, institutions, and organizations
Blog (relevant news and articles on OSEC and cybersafety)
Local language translation (Tagalog and Cebuano)
AlamBaU was launched in 2016 in response to the growing issue of OSEC. Caritativo mentioned how during that time, the Philippines was becoming a hotspot for child pornography, even perpetuated by family members of children themselves. (READ: Stolen: Pretty Girls)
Since then, the platform focused on education as a response to OSEC, gathering materials that will inform kids and teens as well as parents and teachers on cyber safety issues.
“Targeted talaga siya to parents and even teachers kasi sila ‘yung kumbaga nasa first line of defense, so sila ‘yung unang tatakbuhan ng bata, sila ‘yung unang makakapansin kung may something bang mali sa bata, and at least to capacitate them para makita ‘yung mga red flags,” said Caritativo.
(It is targeted toward parents and teachers because they are the first line of defense. They are the first ones the child will run to and they are the first ones who will notice if there’s something wrong with the child. It will capacitate them to see the red flags.)
The site also functions as a platform for stakeholders such as parents, police, government, and inter-agency councils to collaborate and share materials.
Two years after launching AlamBaU, Caritativo said that the developers are still looking for collaborators to level up the website. Caritativo expressed their vision to develop the site further and make it multi-platform, such as developing a mobile application or an Ami and Abu online/television show.
They are also looking for partners and proponents that would adopt and sustain the website.
AlamBaU.ph was further developed with the help of the following collaborators: Philippines Against Child Trafficking, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes Philippines, Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Children’s Legal Bureau, Stairway Foundation, Development Action for Women’s Network, Oceana Gold Philippines, and Telstra Foundation Philippines. – Rappler.com
Visit the site at alambau.ph
Loreben Tuquero is a Rappler intern. She is Communication student at the Ateneo de Manila University.