Zonta Club of Cebu II leads efforts to protect children from online sexual abuse and trafficking

A prominent family lawyer and women’s rights advocate has praised the Zonta Club of Cebu II, Philippines, for leading the effort to protect Filipino children from online sexual abuse and trafficking.

“Cebu has the political will and NGOs such as the Zonta Club of Cebu II are involved in the fight against online sexual exploitation. Most of the conviction cases on online child trafficking and sexual exploitation come from Cebu,” Attorney Katrina Legarda said in a webinar on Online Sexual Exploitation. The webinar was organized by club members, local government unit partners and women’s desk police officers.

Legarda went on to cite the Zonta Club of Cebu II’s LGU partners Cebu’s Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) and the City Committee on Women and Family Affairs as “champions of child protection”, as they coordinate overall programs among law enforcement, justice, the courts and other agencies, especially during surveillance and rescue operations.

The webinar was designed to make participants aware of the signs in communities that indicates any online sexual exploitation of children. These “red flags” include the prevalence of money transfer shops frequented by older members of the community with money sent to the same person, same address and the same localities, the presence of large satellite dishes with suspect households having to pay large internet bills and the predominance of homes where the occupants do not have a visible means of livelihood, with many of children inside the house playing and a disproportionate number of devices such as laptops, cellphones and other gadgets.