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Behind the Screen: Understanding the CSAM Epidemic in the Philippines

Posted by Brittany Roberts on February 21, 2024
Brittany Roberts

In recent years, the Philippines has seen a surge in internet usage, particularly in live streaming. While live streaming platforms offer entertainment, connection, and opportunities for content creators, they also pose risks, especially concerning the spread of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and escalating child sexual abuse content.

In 2022, 1 in 100 Filipino children were sexually exploited in livestreams[1]. These criminal streamers will often take requests from the audience on the type of abuse streamed or they will actively conduct the requested abuse with the viewer giving directions. Sex offenders will pay Philippine-based traffickers as little as $25 (USD) to participate in these horrific online streams of child sexual abuse material (CSAM)[1].Live Streaming CSAM in the Philippines

Social Media Platforms: Hotspots for CSAM Live Streams

These live streams are often conducted on social media platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch.

  • Facebook (Meta): individuals can broadcast live to their followers or the public. Streamers use large private Facebook groups to promote ways to connect users with similar interests and their horrific crimes. Meta has hidde190,000 of these groups but there are still more to be uncovered[2].

  • Instagram Live (Meta): Instagram Live offers a similar feature to Facebook, allowing users to stream live to their followers in real-time. A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Stanford University concluded that Instagram hosts a large network of accounts sharing and selling CSAM content[3].

  • Youtube Live: provides users with the ability to broadcast live video streams to their subscribers and the broader YouTube community.

  • Twitch: Twitch is an Amazon-owned streaming platform. Their feature “Clips” allows users to take short videos from live streams that can be edited and shared. An analysis from Bloomberg showed that 83 out of 1,100 clips revealed involved CSAM[4].

Rescuing Victims and Bringing Criminals to Justice: The Role of Organizations like IJM4-Feb-20-2024-05-47-58-3797-PM

Organizations work tirelessly to rescue victims and bring criminals to justice. The International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global organization that protects people from violence. They work on combating issues such as human trafficking and online sexual exploitation of children.

On September 4, 2013, with the help of Philippine local law enforcement and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), they were able to free three sisters from exploitation. These young girls ages 3-11 were abused by their parents who engaged in live streaming of their sexual abuse. This was IJM’s first conviction in a live-streaming trafficking case[5]

Partnering for Impact: ADF and International Justice Mission (IJM) Collaboration

ADF Solutions is honored to collaborate with the International Justice Mission as a partner. Through our partnership, ADF empowers organizations like IJM with cutting-edge digital2-Feb-20-2024-05-47-58-9289-PM forensic tools essential for conducting comprehensive investigations into cases involving live-streaming and child sexual abuse material (CSAM). 

These tools play a crucial role in enabling IJM and other organizations to swiftly and effectively identify perpetrators, gather evidence, and ultimately rescue victims from the horrors of online exploitation. By providing IJM with the necessary digital forensic solutions, ADF contributes to the vital mission of protecting vulnerable individuals and holding perpetrators of online exploitation accountable for their heinous actions.

Learn how ADF supports the fight against Money Laundering and Human Trafficking  in the Philippines

Topics: ADF Authorized Partner, Human Trafficking, CSAM

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