In Philippines, the fight against online sexual abuse of children exposes tensions between human rights and economic development  

Updated 12:58 AM ET, Mon May 9, 2022

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(CNN)Filipinos are going to the ballot box today to elect a new president, who will replace controversial leader Rodrigo Duterte.

The new leader will have many "existential" challenges to address. It is, however, uncertain how high up the list the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children will be -- if at all. None of the leading candidates for the top job have made this topic an election issue, despite a 2021 report that labelled the country "the center of child sex abuse materials production in the world." The report concluded that children in the Philippines are at risk for online sexual exploitation for reasons including "free online connectivity, the widespread use of cellphones, the irresponsible use of technology."
In a country whose economy has become heavily reliant on providing business process outsourcing services -- among them content moderation for social media platforms where these exploitations generally take place -- and where there are active efforts to digitize the economy and communications, will the new leader be able to keep capital coming in while at the same time safeguarding Filipino children?