MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The young figure is lit by the glow of the computer screen. Just out of frame, an adult adjusts the figure’s posture into a more suggestive pose, the better for the person on the other end of the webcam to appreciate what they’d paid for. It is a scene that plays out across the Philippines every day, and the fact that the young person is being played by a stuffed toy in this reenactment doesn’t make it any less disturbing.
The scenario is just one of several presented in a shocking new online film released as part of the SaferKidsPH initiative. A campaign of the Australian Government in partnership with UNICEF, Save the Children Philippines, and The Asia Foundation, SaferKidsPH was created to address the rise in online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) in the Philippines.
In 2018 alone, there was an estimated minimum of 600,000 photos of naked, sexualized, and abused Filipino children as young as 3 months old were shared and sold online. Working hand in hand with government partners, civil society, youth groups, and members of the private sector, SaferKidsPH aims to inform the public of the horrifying realities faced by these child victims.
Within 24 hours of being posted, the SaferKidsPH film drew over 1.5 million views, and thousands of shares, with netizens reacting in shock, anger, and sadness at the crimes being committed. Many of the comments decried the inhuman treatment that produced OSAEC, vehemently denouncing those who would inflict such atrocities on children. Profoundly unsettling, the film is boldly effective in getting its point across.
According to UNICEF Corporate Alliances Officer Georgina Belardo, the film is a crucial component of SaferKidsPH’s mission to spread awareness and create a conversation that would otherwise be left unheard. “The increasing incidents of OSAEC in Filipino children is rising every year,” said Belardo. “People are not educated on how to protect their children and keep them safe online, so we needed to create this campaign to highlight the risks to children.”
As an introduction to the world of online sexual exploitation, the film is nothing less than devastating. As the initial salvo of a six-year campaign, the film merely marks the beginning of an ongoing battle that SaferKidsPH is determined to win.
For more information on the SaferKidsPH initiative, and help stop online sexual abuse of Filipino children, please visit fb.com/saferkidsph or donate.unicef.ph.
Chief Creative Officer: Melvin Mangada
Executive Creative Director: Bryan Siy
Creative Director: Ryan Caidic
ACD: James Mendoza
Art Directors: James Mendoza,and Angel Villanueva
Illustrator: Paul Castro
Copywriters: Bryan Siy and Kyla Caparas
Client Service Director: Kathy Cosico
Account Director: Alexandra Huang
Strategic Planning Director: Issa Ignacio
Strategic Planner: Jhazel Mendoza
Strategic Director: Chino Testado
Senior Media & Analytics Manager: Ingrid Papa
Director: Petersen Vargas
Editor: Hann Marcelino
Producer: Mich Dela Cruz
Sound Arranger: Jasper Perez and Jigo Viriña
Sound Engineer: JM Leano
Production House: How’s Everything
Audio Production House: Soundesign Manila
Georgina Belardo, Corporate Alliances Officer
Atty. Marj Ardivilla, Child Protection Specialist
Atty. Mitch Muñoz, Child Online Protection Coordinator