IJM seeks to end cybersex trafficking of children and #RestartFreedom

WASHINGTON:  International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest international anti-slavery organisation, launched a campaign on Monday (Nov 28) or ‘Cyber Monday’ to Shutdown Cybersex Trafficking and #RestartFreedom for thousands of kids in the Philippines who have fallen victim to the cybersex trafficking of children.

The campaign kicked off with the Facebook premiere of ‘Super Maarko’, a short film dramatisation of the experiences of some of the young children rescued from cybersex trafficking by IJM and local Philippine authorities.

Through the campaign, IJM aims to rally influencers, supporters, and the masses alike to raise funds through IJM’s Holiday Gift Catalog to combat the crime and help increase aftercare capacity where IJM works in the Philippines. Fundraising efforts will kick off on #GivingTuesday, where gifts will be doubled up to $150,000.

Cybersex trafficking involves the sexual abuse of children in front of a live webcam and is made possible by the proliferation of the internet and English language proficiency in very poor countries.

Consumers, who are in large part from places like North America or Europe, pay as little as $20 for a “show” and the Philippines National Police receives well over 2,000 referrals a month of potential online exploitation of Filipino children.

“The story of cybersex trafficking is one of the hardest we’ve ever had to tell, but we also believe that this is one of the most important fights in which we are engaged,” said Melissa Russell, IJM’s Senior Vice President of Global Advancement.

“The world must wake up to the reality of the online sexual exploitation of children, because kids deserve a childhood free from fear of exploitation and violence. This #GivingTuesday, we’re asking the world to join with us in bringing freedom to the victims of this horrific crime. We will not go away until every child is free.”

IJM has been working in the Philippines since 2000 to protect minors from traffickers operating bars and on streets notorious for selling minors for sex. After 15 years of working with the Philippine public justice system—equipping police, courts, laws and social services—there are significantly fewer minors being sold in the commercial sex trade.

Over the past few years, Philippine authorities have seen a large spike in cases of cybersex trafficking and have asked IJM teams for assistance.

Funds raised from the campaign will be used in part to provide funding to a foundation that does excellent work training foster families and placing children in loving homes, and to help aftercare partners start specialised homes for cybersex trafficking survivors. These are practical, critical solutions to long-term needs to care for the girls and boys who are rescued from this form of abuse.

Read more and join in IJM’s ‘Shutdown Trafficking, #RestartFreedom’ campaign here.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organisation, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.

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