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Encouraging the local kids to stay away from online gaming dens or roam around the pier is the main reason I invite a small group to the house in the afternoons after school.
I see these kids (little kids as young as 5) lining up to play online computer games or just wandering the streets alone — sadly I was not surprised to read a recent UNICEF study claiming that 8 in 10 Filipino kids are in danger of being sexually abused online or bullied.
According to UNICEF the Philippines has become the global epicentre of the live stream sexual abuse trade, and many of the victims are children. In the slums of Manila, a police raid of a child sexual exploitation operation illuminates the challenges the country faces in protecting vulnerable children and prosecuting their abusers.
If you’re a kid and have had nothing to eat all day and someone offers you money, you might be tempted to sell drugs or engage in some type of sex activity. Kids roaming about are so vulnerable so I try to provide fun activities that encourage them to keep coming back.
We have a lot of fun together. I’ve downloaded karaoke tracks to the latest songs they love and found some videos that teach simple hip hop routines. We’re going to have a small concert soon to give them a sense of purpose (and for the mere fun of it). As you can see One Direction is very popular.
I’ve grown to love these children so very much and seeing them wave to me from a tricycle in their school uniforms or having them stop me in the street to tell me about their exam results is a delight. The thought of any of them hurt the way the little girl in the video below has been hurt is an unbearable thought. The thought of any kid hurt like that is unbearable.
© 2016 Melinda Irvine
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