Parents warned vs Net lingo: ‘Let’s try 8’December 19, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–Beware the language of the Internet, Sen. Loren Legarda warned, saying that certain online terms might actually be a code for cyberpornography and sexual abuse.
The senator said the public, especially parents, must beware of the subtle language of the Internet, adding that despite the Net’s myriad advantages as a tool of information and communication, it has also become an avenue for human trafficking.
“Acronyms have become tools for pornography and online sexual abuse,” Legarda said in a privilege speech.
She cited the number “8,” which she said might sound harmless, but has a more sinister meaning in Internet lingo.
“The message ‘let’s try 8’ would seem harmless to an unknowing parent … (but) in Internet lingo, the number ‘8’ means ‘oral sex,’” the senator said.
Cybersex has emerged as one of the “many tentacles” of human trafficking, Legarda said, adding that Congress has passed the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2013 precisely to address emerging new challenges.
Under the law, harboring a child for purposes of prostitution or production of pornographic materials is considered trafficking, she said.
Moreover, the crime is considered qualified trafficking when the offender is the parent, guardian or someone who exercises authority over the child, Legarda added.
The senator said the Philippines has shown significant improvements in combating human trafficking, with the 2014 Global Slavery Index ranking the Philippines No. 1 in Asia, No. 3 in Asia-Pacific, and No. 29 worldwide out of 166 countries, in terms of government response against human trafficking.
Sense of complacency
“These numbers should not, however, give us a sense of complacency,” Legarda cautioned.
“While this is laudable, we cannot celebrate just yet because we know that there are still many Filipino women, children and even men here in the country and in other parts of the world who are hoping and praying that soon they will be rescued from slavery and be able to tread on a new path for a much brighter future,” she said.
The senator exhorted the public to mount a massive information and education campaign against all forms of human trafficking, including cyberpornography.
“The illegal human trade is a complex web. Battling it requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society. But preventing the crime and protecting our children from trafficking can actually start at home by educating our children on how they can protect themselves (through) the responsible use of the Internet,” Legarda said.