August 23, 2022

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Task force to use anti-money laundering mechanisms to fight online exploitation of kids 

JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla on Tuesday said an inter-agency task force would employ the country’s anti-money laundering mechanisms to restrict transactions related to online exploitation of children.

Mr. Remulla told a live-streamed press conference that he would ask telecommunications companies to implement filters that would block these malicious websites and payments.  

“Law enforcement agencies around the world know that the Philippines is one of the favorite places for these perverts who exploit children,” he said. 

“This is not a source of pride but a source of shame, which is why we are declaring war against the exploitation of children.”  

The task force is composed of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and its attached agencies, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).  

Mr. Remulla said the government will also be coordinating with the United States Department of Homeland Security to track down foreigners in the country who are involved in child exploitation.  

DILG Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. told the same briefing that his department plans to obtain forensic software that would help track of those who exploit children online.  

Data from the DILG shows that authorities conducted 227 operations combating online sexual exploitation and convicted 67 individuals behind these illegal websites from 2017 to July 2022.  

In March, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center, a separate task force, rescued 134 sexually exploited children and arrested 15 offenders from 51 operations since last year.  

The NBI also opened its Cyber Trafficking in Persons Monitoring Center, which monitors cyber-space for human trafficking.  

The United Nations Children Agency in 2017 said one of three internet users were children below 18, and were at risk of harmful content and contact. John Victor D. Ordoñez