Cybersex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that was unimaginable before the digital age. Cybersex trafficking is the live sexual abuse of children streamed via the internet, set up by adults who receive online payments from predators and pedophiles located anywhere in the world.
Before the internet, customers had to travel to the Philippines. Traffickers recruited vulnerable teens and coerced them to work in bars or clubs. Now, pedophiles and predators can enter the homes of Filipino children through a simple internet connection. Victims tend to be young—some under 2 years old—and the traffickers tend to be trusted family members who earn quick cash by exploiting children in their care.
Since IJM started working in the Philippines in 2000, the government has made rapid strides to stop traffickers from exploiting children in the commercial sex trade—closing bars that sell minors for sex and bringing pimps to justice.Studies have shown the number of minors available for purchase on streets and in bars once notorious for sex trafficking has plummeted between 75% and 86% in the cities where IJM has worked.
Now the authorities need specialized training on cyber-investigations and how to care for young survivors of cybersex trafficking. This crime will keep spreading until communities start to see consequences and traffickers setting up the sexual exploitation of children are restrained.
We rescue victims by helping Filipino authorities and foreign law enforcement agencies to identify and remove children from cybersex trafficking.
Bringing Criminals to Justice
We bring criminals to justice. We help police investigate and gather evidence so that traffickers and criminals facilitating online sexual exploitation are restrained. We help prosecutors press charges and build strong cases using all available evidence.
We restore survivors by creating individualized care plans for survivors and working closely with a range of aftercare partners. Cybersex trafficking victims can be under 2 years old, and there are more boys than in bar- or street-based trafficking. IJM social workers help place survivors in aftercare homes where they can return to school, take vocational classes, and receive ongoing therapy. In addition to providing direct client care, we are developing best practices and pioneering new tools for shelters handling cybersex trafficking cases.
Strengthening Justice Systems
We strengthen justice systems by providing hands-on mentoring for law enforcement, judges and social services. The Philippines has strong anti-trafficking laws, and we are helping to train authorities on how to implement them against this new crime type.
After four years of IJM's partnership with local authorities in Metro Cebu, outside auditors documented a stunning 79% decrease in the availability of children for commercial sex.
In partnership with local law enforcement, we have rescued more than 300 children from cybersex trafficking in the Philippines.
Our Teams in The Philippines
Field Office Director: Lucille Dejito
Focus: Cybersex Trafficking
Field Office Director: Rey Bicol
Focus: Cybersex Trafficking
More about the issue
What is cybersex trafficking? Cybersex trafficking is the live-streaming sexual abuse of children viewed over the internet. We need your help to rescue these children and stop them from being exploited in the first place.
Cassie's Story: Cassie moved to Manila when she was 12 with big dreams. What she found there was a nightmare. She was raped and forced to perform sex acts in front of a camera. Until her rescue.