ECPAT Philippines tells us about their work with survivors and how children and youth are taking the lead to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation of children through theatre performances and the use of social media.

We have been working directly with survivors since 2005 when a shelter was built for girls who are victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

We run a group for ECPAT Youth and Children Advocates ‘EYCA’ in the Philippines. EYCA members are aged between 19-25 and include survivors. EYCA has a subgroup “Sali Ka Bata” (SKB), Sali which means join or participate, and Bata which means child. SKB members are aged between 7-18.

Learning through theatre

SKB is a mobile theatre group that goes to different communities and schools to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation of children. Their performances focus on children’s rights, as well as the different forms of abuse and how and where to report abuse. Parents, children and youth attend the theatre performances.

Power of social media

EYCA focuses on campaigning against sexual abuse through online social media. They have a Facebook page “I Dislike Child Pornography” which they use to share information. EYCA members also give talks on international law and the different forms of sexual abuse. They are also creating and implementing an awareness raising campaign using the stories and experiences of victims.

Listening to victims

We involve child victims and survivors in consultations on the development of our projects and implementation of our programmes.

As part of research on “The Scope and Magnitude of Online Sexual Abuse of Children in Highly Affected Areas in the Philippines”, we identified and reached out to and assisted child victims of sexual exploitation online. The awareness raising component included bringing victim’s voices to the public to ensure that the community understood the negative impact of the sexual exploitation online on the lives of children.

Going forward, we will be building on their engagement with children and youth by including youth representation in our governance structure.