ECPAT Philippines and the local government of Laguna on July 15, 2021, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to institutionalize the eProtectKids internet hotline in the province’s annual plans and programs.
eProtectKids is the Philippine member of INHOPE, an international association of internet hotlines that aims to quickly remove Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM) from the internet. Connected to 46 member hotlines worldwide, it can easily forward a verified report of CSAM to the country where it’s hosted so it can be taken down for good. Through its secure database, it preserves potential evidence that may aid law enforcement investigations even after a material is removed online. It is run by ECPAT Philippines in partnership with the Department of Information and Communications Technology – Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (DICT-CICC).
The effects of the pandemic, i.e., job loss for millions of Filipinos, increased internet use of children due to community lockdowns and online classes, have been gravely exploited by traffickers online: 1.3 million Philippine-related cybertips of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) were received by the Department of Justice from CyberTipline, a US-based hotline, in 2020.
As partners with the same goal of disrupting the alarming surge of OSAEC in the country, ECPAT Philippines and the Laguna government commit to working together in developing local legislation, projects, and activities that will intensify awareness-raising efforts and strengthen the reporting system in the province through the utilization of eProtectKids.
“This partnership [which included the drafting and approval of the MOU] has undergone a long process but it is definitely worth it. As we’ve learned today, there are sex offenders worldwide – people whom we don’t know and we can’t control. We do have existing national laws on this, but we at the local level are the ones who need to work together and take action,” said Vice Governor Karen Agapay during the partnership launching event on July 14, 2020. It was attended online by over 200 stakeholders from the local government of Laguna.
As a mother of two girls, Provincial Administrator Dulce Rebanal also reiterated Laguna’s commitment to be “a strong ally in combatting CSAM under the leadership of Gov. Ramil Hernandez, through ECPAT Philippines’ flagship program eProtectKids.” It is very important that we provide our children with a safe, healthy and sound [online] environment,” she added.
Anyone who comes across a Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) online may report the URL of the image to ecpat.org.ph/report.