Student leader calls out parents engaging OSEC

In 2018, an upsetting news broke out about the arrest of a 38-year-old mother from Cordova, Cebu because of trafficking children for online sexual exploitation. Eight minors were rescued – four of whom are her children. Imagine the horror these children went through.

Two years after, a group of student leaders from the same municipality where the eight minors were rescued band together to protect their fellow children.

The Supreme Pupil Government (SPG) in an elementary school in Cordova goes room to room to share awareness to their schoolmates about how to protect themselves from Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) and where to report if they know someone who are exploited or abused.

Their journey started when they were invited by World Vision to join an Anti-OSEC workshop last 2019. The workshop is part of the organization’s activities under Child Protection Compact (CPC) project which is funded by the United States.

One of the members of the SPG is James, 12 years old. He is the eldest child with one sibling. His mother works as a factory worker while his father earns as a construction laborer. For him, the workshop was an eye-opener about the dangers that are lurking even inside a child’s home.

“Work hard to provide for your children, do not exploit them” – James, 12

“Adults should be more responsible to protect their children. They shouldn’t be tempted with easy money being offered by predators,” James calls out parents who are engaging in OSEC. “To those parents who are victimizing their children on cybersex, you should feel guilty. Work hard to provide for your children, do not exploit them,” he added.

The student leader also thinks that the children and youth also have the responsibility to protect themselves especially on who they interact on social media, “I am advising my fellow children to be more careful in using their social media accounts because there are plenty of strangers with bad intentions are preying on minors in the internet.”

Some of the members of the SPG including James have already graduated last March but they ensured that their advocacy will continue by passing the torch to future student leaders in their school.

After four years, the CPC project will end this year but the work will continue because of advocates like James and the rest of the SPG members who will keep an eye on possible OSEC cases in their respective communities.