54% OF VICTIMS RESCUED BY IJM CASES ARE 1-12 YEARS OLD
16-17 YEARS OLD: AVERAGE AGE OF COMMERCIAL SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIMS
WHAT IS CYBERSEX TRAFFICKING?
Cybersex trafficking is the live-streaming of sexual exploitation viewed over the internet. In this digital age, children are now scarily exposed to a world of predators. Anyone can access sexual services online, and victims of cybersex trafficking may be sexually abused or forced to perform sex acts for a predator thousands of miles away.
WHY CAN’T THE PROBLEM BE SOLVED?
Unlike bars or brothels with a physical location, cybersex trafficking is hard to contain. The abuse can take place anywhere that has internet connection and a webcam or camera. Untraceable wireless payments make it difficult to prosecute predators, and tech-savvy “pimps” can easily evade detection. The high profit margins that one can gain from this online exploitation has caused cybersex trafficking to thrive in the Philippines.
WHY ARE CHILDREN TARGETED?
Sadly, the more perverse a sex act is, the more a customer pays, and children are a niche market that is particularly lucrative. According to IJM, some victims of cybersex trafficking in the Philippines are even under two years of age. These children are often tricked and coerced by trusted adults into performing lewd sexual acts before they even understand what is being done.
For those who are slightly older, they may not be aware of what is happening until it is done. One victim, Joy (not her real name), was invited to her neighbour’s home to hang out after school with some of her friends. Since this is a neighbour she trusts, she agreed. However, upon entering the home, her and her friends were suddenly instructed by the woman to take off their clothes. The woman took out her camera, started taking pictures of them, and subsequently posted it online for others’ enjoyment.
The powerlessness of children makes them easy targets — they are usually unable to resist the pressure when pushed to engage in these activities, and unable to seek restitution when they become a victim of cybersex trafficking.
For those fortunate enough to get rescued, the fear, trauma, and damage inflicted on them lasts a long time and requires an arduous journey of restoration.