Updated Report on Webcam Child Sex Tourism in the Philippines.

This recent report entitled "Children of the Webcam" is an updated version of the 2013 "Fullscreen on View" document which initially detailed the evolving trend in sexual exploitation of children; that of using them to perform live sex acts for paying viewers in foreign countries via internet webcam. 3 years later, Terre des Hommes Netherlands revisits the original findings to ascertain if and how the phenomenon has developed in the interim.

The updated report concludes that the practice of WCST has indeed increased substantially in scale on two levels; the geographical spread is now almost nationwide having previously been mostly confined to the built -up urban areas and the "cybersex dens", where children are coerced into these acts, have grown in size and number.

This growth has been facilitated by a combination of factors the most significant of which are the recent advances in communications technology, particularly the widespread use of the smartphone to live-stream to customers from remote or hidden locations. A variety of options for anonymous money transfer are now available via internet. English is the second language in the Phillipines making verbal exchanges on camera straightforward. Poverty levels, despite economic growth,have increased, with 25% of the population existing in grinding persistent poverty. WCST is perceived as "easy money" because it does not involve physical contact with the viewer despite the established research showing that children become sexualised and traumatised by being involved in this practice.

The Philippine National Police and the national judiciary have undertaken several initiatives to address WCST in the country but progress is slow for many reasons outlined in the report. The fact remains that it is the demand side of WCST which is fuelling the rapid growth of the "industry" and that really needs to be tackled on an international level to bring it down. 

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