The Abuse of Children Online

The Abuse of Children Online
Fr. Shay Cullen
19 May 2017

The arrest last April 20, 2017 of US National David Timothy Deakin in Pampanga the Philippines shows the extent of the evil lurking in the online child abuse sex trade. Deakin was abusing children allegedly on live internet streaming and he tried to erase the images when the police raided his apartment and caught him. His computer equipment was taken as evidence from which images of child abuse will be retrieved.

Thousands of foreign pedophile pay hefty fees to view live streaming through the internet of children being abused. The Philippines is said to be at the heart of the horrific trade. At any one time, as many as 750,000 child predators are online over the Internet seeking children to abuse online, according to the FBI. The United Nations describes “alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation online.” The FBI says it’s epidemic.

The dark evil side of the Internet causes irreparable damage to thousands of young children. Their pimps are sometimes their relatives and even their mothers do it to earn money. It is one of worst faces of poverty where they sell their own children in this way. Many are desperate for money to feed the children. Irresponsible live-in partners or fathers abandon their children and their mothers. Children who are abused in the cyber-sex business or who run away to the streets are most likely to have been abused first in the home by a relative.

The anti-cyber and anti-child abuse police need all the help they can get from the public. Every person ought to realize that child sexual abuse is very common and rampart in all societies. One in three girls are victims of abuse. It is a secret and hidden crime and hard to detect as the child victims are threatened and live in fear of the abuser especially if the abuser is a relative. The child needs to be told of the danger of bad touches from anybody. If they feel uncomfortable with anyone touching them, they must be taught to run and tell it from an early age and to trust someone they can tell. They can be taught what are good touches and from whom they can receive them.

The public needs to be educated and informed about child abuse and how they can prevent it. Never to leave their child alone with a male relative for long period of time for example. Be alert and wary of friends who integrate themselves into a family and spend an inordinate amount of time with the children. Watch out for a 13-year-old boy playing constantly with children much younger than him.

The general public and government officials and school and hospital staff need to be advised of their sworn duties and responsibilities to watch out for and report abuse. They need to be motivated to report any suspicious behavior of a foreigner in any form but especially if they a see young children being brought into a hotel room or a house or to any secluded place where they suspect illegal abuse could be happening.

Riza was an 11-year old child when her mother separated with her biological father and left Riza with him. He soon began to sexually abuse her day and night until at 14 she became pregnant by him. The child was born in a rural hospital and the staff did not report the obvious signs of abuse of the pregnant child. The father even signed the birth certificate with his own name. No official action was taken by the hospital staff to report the incest. Then a neighbor in the remote village had attended a Preda awareness seminar and became increasingly suspicious of the father. She reported the case to the Preda Foundation hotline for such reports and Preda social workers responded at once.

The child was rescued and the father is on trial. Without that help from the alert neighbor, the child-mother would have suffered endless abuse and the baby would surely die. Riza, at 14, was small, stunted, underweight, malnourished and unable to care or bond with the baby. After a year of recovery and care at Preda, Riza became more caring and strong. The social workers found Diana, the mother of Riza, and reunited them. Diana welcomed the child and now cares for her while Riza is finishing her studies.

Police searching and monitoring the child porn and live streaming of children being abused are overworked and overwhelmed and are sick of the obnoxious work that they have to do and abuse images they have to view. Websites sharing the child porn must be detected, blocked and shut down immediately when they are found. The members of the public who are sent unsolicited links to child porn website must report them and never visit the website. It is illegal to do so. They must report them to the authorities anywhere in the world they are. Child porn images are shared globally and we need a global response to combat it.

Skilled hackers who want a mission can volunteer their services to the cyber police and can with supervision be deputized to search, find and report the online abusers. Evidence can be gathered so the pedophiles and pornographers can be caught and prosecuted.

Internet Server Providers (ISP) in the Philippines are bound by law to block and filter all child porn images but they steadfastly refuse to do so, it seems. The telephone companies are violating the law by not having these filters in place as demanded by the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 otherwise known as RA 9775. They have seemingly placed themselves above the law and may have some government officials in their pockets. In addition to the anti-child pornography law, they are also allegedly violating with impunity the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995 or RA 7925 and Executive Order No. 546 issued in 1979.

Profits are more important to them than the well being of children, it would seem. Government officials of the National Telecommunications Commission who are duty-bound to implement the law are also inactive and ignore the violations of the law by the ISPs. Why we ask?

If this law was implemented and followed to protect children, there would less abuse of children online. The likes of Deakin and other notorious child abusers local and foreign could be brought to justice sooner. It is a collective responsibility and we have to work together to stand against the corrupt officials and the abusers and defend and protect the children.

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