Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday warned against sexual exploitation of minors through social media accounts.
The senator issued the warning as she called for the immediate passage of a bill meant to curb cybercrimes against the children.
Hontiveros cited such Facebook groups as “Atabs” and “LF Kuya and Bunso” which allegedly post images of minors in a bid to attract pedophiles and other sexual predators.
The perpetrators also reportedly use Facebook groups to advertise that they sell children’s photos or videos on other messaging apps, such as Telegram.
“They use FB messenger or Telegram to sell thousands of pictures and videos,” Hontiveros said.
She noted that others even use cloud storage like Mega to store large volumes of the minors’ online images.
As a mother, Hontiveros said she fears for the dangers confronting the children through the internet.
Hontiveros thus underscored the need to pass her proposed Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Law to run after the cyber criminals and other unscrupulous users of social media platforms and internet intermediaries preying on Filipino children.
Hontiveros, principal author and sponsor of the measure, earlier revealed the “Usurping Diskette” Facebook page and YouTube channel, “which teaches subscribers on how to prey on children.
After the senator’s call to her followers to report the accounts to the authorities, both the page and the channel were taken down by Facebook and YouTube.
“It’s not enough to take down pages or channel. Even if reported online, they will still make new accounts,” the senator said, adding that media platforms and messaging applications should be “proactive in curbing activities that endanger the youth.”
“The YouTube is part of the lives of our youth on the internet. But this should not be part of the violence and abuses against them, whether offline or online, she said.
“Let us do everything to ensure the protection of our children,” Hontiveros said.