Vanquish cybersex, save our children
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.