The Philippines’ largest integrated telecommunications network PLDT, Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. have been tapped as the exclusive telco partner of the SCROL (Safety For Children and Their Rights Online) Project by Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Asia, and the Cebu-based Bidlisiw Foundation, Inc., to combat online child sexual exploitation.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Asia is an organization that provides assistance to children, while Bislisiw Foundation is a Philippine social development agency that aids urban poor families. Both advocacies are geared towards combating Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC), in particular, Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE).
“As a technology company and an Internet Service Provider, we recognize the immense responsibility that we need to fulfill to help end any form of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children or OSAEC, especially in the Philippines which has been identified by the United Nations as a global hotspot for these crimes. We aim to support advocacy groups such as Terre des Hommes and Bidlisiw through the services that we offer,” said Marylou Gocotano, Head of Visayas Relations at PLDT and Smart Stakeholder Management Group.
SCROL will debut in the Philippines with Cebu as the initial launch site. Specifically, the program will be implemented in Naga City and in the municipalities of Minglanilla, Bantayan, and Sta. Fe. Outside of the Philippines, SCROL has been making strides in Nepal, Kenya, and Cambodia.
“OSAEC has been proliferating nowadays. Our prevention work involves ISPs, telecommunication companies, money transfer agencies, and technology companies, among others. Thus, working together with them, specifically with PLDT and Smart, is one step closer to finding solutions to these aggravating issues affecting the children and the youth. Bidlisiw highly anticipates a meaningful and productive collaboration with these identified sectors to end online sexual exploitation,” said Pamela Uy, Bidlisiw Foundation, Inc. Deputy Executive Director.
PLDT and Smart have made strides to curtail online abuse of children. In January of this year, PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) prevented more than 200,000 attempts to access OSAEC materials through the pioneering Child Protection Platform.
The PLDT Group commits its full support to boost the implementation of the SCROL project in the pre-determined areas and participate in the wider fight against OSAEC. This underscores the group’s long-term commitment to help the country attain UNSDG #16 that promotes just, peaceful and inclusive societies including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.