Globe has called for greater vigilance against cases of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) after a recent report of the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) showed an increase in these disturbing cases globally.
The IWF report revealed that the number of webpages containing Category A child sexual abuse material that the IWF took action to remove or block from the internet doubled since 2020, reaching a record-breaking 51,369 in 2022.
The most severe kind of imagery regarding child sexual abuse is classified as Category A material. This type of content can feature the most heinous forms of sexual abuse, such as the rape of children, infants, and even newborns. Additionally, it may also involve acts of bestiality or sadism. It now accounts for 20% of all the content the IWF spots online.
“The recent report from the IWF has highlighted the severity of the problem of OSAEC. This is worrisome as cases of online sexual abuse of children are known to have thrived in the Philippines especially during the pandemic. We are even more determined to strengthen our initiatives to combat OSAEC and work towards creating a safer online environment for everyone. We urge the public to exercise vigilance and help protect children from these abuses,” said Globe Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer Yoly Crisanto.
In 2020, the Philippines was tagged as the world’s top source of online child sexual exploitation content in a study by the International Justice Mission. The rise in cases was observed as poverty worsened during the pandemic. A study conducted by the US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also highlighted the Philippines as one of the primary sources of OSAEC-related content worldwide, emphasizing the importance of Globe’s ongoing efforts to address this issue.
To step up its fight against OSAEC, Globe partnered with the IWF in August 2021 to boost the protection of children online.
Through its own efforts, Globe also continues to block harmful content online. In the first quarter of 2023, it blocked over 65,000 illegal sites carrying child pornography, a remarkable 67.3% increase compared to 38,795 in the same period last year.
In 2022, it blocked an impressive 399,540 URLs and nearly 1,947 domains hosting child pornography, approximately 18 times higher than the 22,371 web links closed in 2021.
“The internet poses a lot of risks, particularly for children, and we are resolute in utilizing our resources to enhance safety for all. Our collaborations with diverse organizations such as the IWF, investments in advanced filtering systems, and advocacy and educational programs are vital measures to promote a secure online landscape. We are convinced that every individual has a role in safeguarding the innocence of children, and we are committed to contributing our share,” said Globe’s Chief Privacy Officer Irish Salandanan-Almeida.
Globe has been fighting OSAEC and other online crimes since 2017 via the launch of the #MakeITSafePH campaign. The campaign has been recognized for its effectiveness in addressing the issue of OSAEC and has won several awards for its efforts.
As part of the initiative, Globe has invested $2.7 million in systems that filter content about child pornography, illegal gambling, and online piracy. It also educates consumers on rampant cases of OSAEC and how they can protect minors from such risks.
To learn more about Globe, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/.