The United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor. Through a resolution, member states are urged to “take immediate action and effective measures” in eradicating child labor worldwide. The International Labor Organization (2002) defines child labor as work done by children that degrades their mental, physical, social, and moral development. By performing dangerous work, the childhood, dignity, and potential contribution to society of these children are compromised. A number of indicators in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at eradicating child labor (i.e., Targets 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms; and 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children). However, despite the global efforts to reduce child labor, a lot of children are still victimized by this crime.
One of the worst forms of child labor that exponentially increased because of lockdowns during this pandemic is the Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC). The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) (2016) has characterized this crime as using the Internet to exploit children sexually, including cases in which contact child abuse and/or exploitation offline is combined with an online component. OSAEC involves capturing images or footage containing sexual abuse and exploitation of minors and children for online distribution in exchange for compensation. Minors and children may also be forced into sexual acts in front of a camera or online Livestream. Further, the proliferation and consumption of these pornographic materials representing children and minors are also considered OSAEC.
Researcher: Arianne Ishreen C. Bucar