Online sexual exploitation of children was unimaginable before the digital age. In this form of modern slavery, sex offenders from demand-side countries communicate online with traffickers in source countries, paying them to livestream sexual abuse and exploitation of children directed by the remote offender in real time.
Before the internet, customers had to travel to the Philippines to purchase sex with a minor. Traffickers recruited vulnerable teens and coerced them to work in bars or clubs. Now, paedophiles and predators can enter the homes of Filipino children through a simple internet connection. Victims tend to be young — some under two — and the traffickers tend to be trusted family members who earn quick cash by exploiting children in their care.
In 2021 International Justice Mission (IJM), together with the University of Nottingham Rights Lab, a world-leading human trafficking research institution, launched the Scale of Harm project to develop and implement a mixed-methodology providing prevalence estimates of trafficking of children to produce CSEM, including via livestreaming, in the Philippines.
Here are two alarming findings:
Nearly half a million children were trafficked to produce new child sexual exploitation materials in 2022. That’s approximately 1 in every 100 Filipino children.
Additionally, nearly a quarter of a million Filipino adults trafficked children for the purpose of creating these materials. Roughly 3 in every 1,000 adults participated in this crime.
Below is the full report of the methodology, findings, and recommendation from the very first national survey and study.