Van­quish cy­ber­sex, save our chil­dren

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

That moth­ers who used chil­dren in the cy­ber­sex trade were ar­rested in Cor­dova town and Tal­isay City tells us anew that pre­vi­ous po­lice raids against such ac­tiv­ity have had lit­tle de­ter­rent ef­fect.

The long-term so­lu­tion to the plague of the com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of chil­dren by moth­ers who are sup­posed to be the most zeal­ous de­fend­ers of their dig­nity is ed­u­ca­tion.

More re­sources should there­fore be poured into such cam­paigns as the one led by Cebu Vice Gover­nor Agnes Mag­pale to spread knowl­edge about the con­se­quences of child abuse via cy­ber­sex.

Such laud­able learn­ing pro­grams, we hope, are in­te­grated with a broader pro­ject that pro­motes the best prac­tices in lov­ing, re­spon­si­ble par­ent­hood in which chil­dren are seen not as ex­tra mouths to feed by what­ever means but as hu­man be­ings who de­serve a sac­ri­fi­cial qual­ity of nur­ture from par­ents and el­ders.

At the same time, while eco­nomic hard­ship does not ex­cuse this vile deed as one of the per­pe­tra­tors hoped, govern­ment and other sec­tors should dou­ble their ef­forts to en­gage poor com­mu­ni­ties in gain­ful em­ploy­ment or en­trepreneur­ship that makes cy­ber­sex unattrac­tive. This goes be­yond dan­gling cash prizes for those who re­port cy­ber­sex op­er­a­tors.

It is al­ways far bet­ter to shield fam­i­lies from the slide into the pit of cy­ber­sex than to have to break them apart for be­ing in­volved in it, in which case the wel­fare of chil­dren de­mands that they be par­ented un­der ab­nor­mal con­di­tions with the in­ter­ven­tion of the State.

Be­yond fos­ter­ing ex­cel­lence in child-rear­ing and re­mov­ing eco­nomic pres­sures, the ap­proach to fight­ing cy­ber­sex in­volves dis­abus­ing com­mu­ni­ties of the no­tion that money they earn from this crime is profit.

The toll in terms of lin­ger­ing feel­ings of guilt and shame as well as of stolen pow­ers of sex­ual self-mas­tery on child vic­tims is in­cal­cu­la­ble.

Our law en­forcers have their work cut out for them. To do the chil­dren jus­tice, the fil­ing of charges, pros­e­cu­tion and pun­ish­ment of the of­fend­ing moth­ers should be swift.

Co­or­di­na­tion with law en­forcers abroad should also be strength­ened to stamp out the cy­ber­sex trade from the de­mand side.

Mag­pale and those as­sist­ing her are wise to speak with cash trans­fer op­er­a­tors to en­list their sup­port in bust­ing cus­tomers and per­pe­tra­tors.

Re­cent his­tory has shown, how­ever, that with the in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion of law en­forcers, it is not im­pos­si­ble to make in­roads in break­ing and dis­man­tling global cy­ber­sex rings.

Ad­dress­ing the prob­lem will also de­pend on the tes­ti­mony of chil­dren who were vic­tim­ized, as re­ported by the In­ter­na­tional Jus­tice Mis­sion that spe­cial­izes in fight­ing cy­ber­sex.

Af­ter the child vic­tims have been given the thor­ough af­ter­care they are en­ti­tled to, their sto­ries must be closely lis­tened to for in­for­ma­tion that will help them take law­ful vengeance on the sys­tem that en­abled their ex­ploita­tion.

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