Rosalyn, 17, pictured centre with 2 of her siblings
A young girl has spoken about her hurt as a much younger child when she was forced by her own parents to perform sex acts on the internet. The girl, identified simply as Rosalyn, a Filipina teenager has revealed how she was forced to perform sex acts for paedophiles all over the world via live stream video by her own parents. Rosalyn was just 11 years old when she was rescued in a police raid along with her six siblings, after a cyber crimes unit had traced online child porn back to her parents in the Philippines.
Now 17, Rosalyn has spoken of how extreme poverty led to her parents selling their children online to the highest bidders. Daily Mail reports that the teenager says she has fond memories of her early childhood, but that was before her parents lost their jobs in a local factory in the Philippines. Her mother and father were unable to find work and as they struggled to feed their seven children, the family sank into extreme poverty.
A neighbour told the family how the children could earn easy money by performing sexual acts on the Internet. Rosalyn and her sister, the eldest children, were forced to perform sexual acts for the camera, which were streamed to paedophiles online. Rosalyn and her siblings were finally saved during a cyber-crimes police raid six years ago, and her parents arrested. They are now in prison, but have still not been tried for their crimes.
The Philippines is the number one global source of child pornography and the 'epicentre of the live-stream sexual abuse trade', UNICEF reports. 'There's no limits to how cruel and gross this business is - and it's a billion, billion-dollar business,' said Lotta Sylwander, head of the U.N. children's agency UNICEF in the Philippines.
Sylwander described how children as young as five or six are forced to perform several times a day in front of a webcam, for an hour at a time, as buyers in different time zones come online. 'It's facilitated by mothers and fathers or close relatives. It may even happen in their home,' she added. 'It's definitely child slavery because the child has no choice.'
Some of Rosalyn's siblings kneel before an altar in their home in an SOS child village where they now live
The paedophiles transfer money and then give instructions of what they want to see. In many cases, the child is abused by someone outside the family but there have been cases of parents abusing their own children or children abusing each other. Sylwander said the Philippines received 7,000 reports of cybercrime a month, half of which related to child sex abuse.
Sylwander said the live-streaming of child sex had boomed in the Philippines because of the high level of English, good internet access and well-established money transfer systems that Filipinos working overseas use to send earnings home.
Poverty is a driver with many parents expecting their children to contribute financially. One group of young children rescued in Manila said they were paid 150 pesos ($3) to take part in shows.
UNICEF, which works with centres that have rescued children, says they were often left severely disturbed.
Sylwander described how one very young boy living in a safe house started undressing and making sexual movements when he saw a staff member pick up a mobile phone because the boy automatically thought he wanted to film him. 'Their minds have been so traumatised and so destroyed and so focussed on anything sexual that they can't play or communicate like kids any more. It's a very difficult rescue process,' Sylwander added.
Sylwander said UNICEF was working closely with police from Britain, Australia and the Netherlands to tackle the crime. It is also hoping to develop training programmes for lawyers, prosecutors, police and judges to help bring abusers to justice.
To engage children and adolescents in ending violence online, UNICEF is launching #ReplyforAll, which is part of its global End Violence Against Children initiative.