Protecting Children in the Philippines who are Sexually Exploited: Dissecting the Systematic Challenges from the NGO Context

Imogen Fell | September 19 | 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Topic: International, Research | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced | Location: TBD

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a widespread and significant social phenomenon that has gained substantial concern from the public and policy sphere, especially for nations in the Global South. A report from UNICEF (2017) stated that the Philippines is “the global epicenter of the live-stream sexual abuse trade”. Online child sexual exploitation (OSEC) is the leading form of cybercrime in the Philippines, making up half of reported cases across the world. Plagued by a multitude of political and socio-economic factors, norms driven by neo-colonial ideologies have had implications for local responses and communities. This presentation is based on initial findings from an in-depth qualitative study exploring the state of CSE from the lens of three grassroots non-government organizations (NGOs) based in the highest reported areas of sex trafficking in the archipelago. Utilizing an ethnographic methodology and traditional grounded theoretical approach, comprehensive case studies were constructed encompassing observations and semi-structured interviews with frontline staff and organizational leaders who are at the forefront of targeted frontline efforts to tackle CSE. The presentation will disseminate the preliminary key findings from the study, aiming to inform conference participants of systemic challenges in efforts to respond to the evolving dynamics of CSE. Likewise, the presenting of push and pull factors specific to the context of the Philippines intends to cultivate wider discussions related to prevention, child safety and global roles in tackling the prevailing issues.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Explain the prevailing situation of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the Philippines, specifically the push and pull factors

·  Articulate the current systems from the grassroots NGO lens in response to CSE

·  Discuss key findings from a qualitative study and the evolving opportunities and challenges

·  Expand on international perspectives towards tackling CSE and the application to Global South communities using the Filipino context as an example

About the Presenter