Deputy Speaker Rep. Camille Villar has sought a congressional inquiry into the “three-fold surge” in cases of children being sexually exploited online as their time spent browsing the web went up during the pandemic.
In House Resolution No. 453 filed last month, Villar stressed the need to protect children “from different types of online abuses” as she urged the committees on justice, welfare of children and population and family relations to look into the increasing number of such cases.
This was in line with the “end goals of combating forms of early-age human trafficking, protecting their welfare in this digital age and capacitating state agencies to run after perpetrators of online child exploitation,” she said.
According to Villar, the victims “do not understand that what was done to them was a form of abuse, and it is important to make them understand that such acts are illegal and may bring them trauma.”
She cited data from the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime, which showed that online child sexual exploitation “nearly tripled” during lockdowns in 2020.