Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cyber Trafficking in the Philippines

Local Politician Drafts Law to Address Forced Internet Pornography

From GMA News:

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd district, PDP-Laban) has authored a bill seeking to penalize cyber-trafficking, or the sexual exploitation of people through the Internet.

Ungab's House Bill 3249 – The Anti-Cyber-Trafficking Act of 2007 – will impose a fine of up to P1 million and five years in jail for crimes of indecency committed through the Internet.

"Persons performing sexual acts in front of computers, video cameras, or digital cameras are not aware that they are trapped into cyber-trafficking and their human rights are violated," Ungab said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said his bill aims to safeguard the morality of society, value the dignity of every person, and guarantee full respect for human rights.

“This bill seeks to promote human dignity and protect the people from all forms of exploitation," he said.

In the bill, Ungab noted the development of computer technology has made access to information and communication easier, along with cyber-trafficking.

"While there are positive effects of computer technology, there are also negative effects, which include cyber-trafficking," he said.
He said the existing law on Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 only covers domestic and international human trafficking.

Because of this, he said "it is essential to address cyber-trafficking problem in the country."

*What I don't understand about this article, or maybe just the soundbyte from the politician, is whether there is a distinction made between willing internet pornography and forced internet pornography under the new law. This article is an example of sensationalism: a controversial and emotional topic offered up on a platter with few facts and fewer insights to ground it. How is the issue defined under the new law? How many victims of cyber-trafficking have been found in the Philippines? How does someone get deceived into cyber-trafficking? What law enforcement strategies effectively combat the issue?

I'll delve further into this topic to see if I can find examples of similar laws/situations around the world and flesh out the topic more.

What other countries are affected by cyber-trafficking? Are certain regions affected more than others and if so why?

More to come...

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