#WIPEOutOSEC, a campaign by the Department of Justice - Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT), encapsulates its proactive advocacy towards the eradication of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in the country.
The hashtag is an offshoot of an online training entitled “OSEC WIPE Out”, where the WIPE stands for “Webinar for Investigators and Prosecutors against Exploitation.” This training was conceptualized by DOJ-IACAT’s Region XI Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RATTF XI) under the leadership of Regional Prosecutor Janel Grace Dalisay-Fabrero and came into fruition after receiving full support from DOJ-IACAT, led by its Executive Director Jinky P. Dedumo and the DOJ Undersecretary (Usec.)-in-Charge Emmeline AglipayVillar. The training was also done in partnership with the United States DOJ’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (USDOJ-OPDAT), represented by its Resident Legal Adviser, Atty. Don Calvert, and Technical Advisor, Mr. Felix Z. Camerino.
The First Anti-OSEC Training
The first anti-OSEC training washeld on November 18 to 22, 2019 at the Marco Polo Hotel, Davao, with select prosecutors and law enforcers from Region XI as participants. This was organized by RATTF XI Chief of Operations, Deputy Regional Prosecutor (DRP) Barbara Mae P. Flores with the help of DOJ-IACAT and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), aiming to strengthen the participants’ collaboration in the investigation and prosecution of OSEC cases. After receiving excellent feedback from the participants, the organizers had set the training to be a regular event, with the goal of reaching more prosecutors and law enforcers in the future.
COVID-19 Pandemic and the Birth of “OSEC WIPE Out”
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional face-to-face trainings have been halted in observance of the health protocols mandated by the national government. Despite such limitations, the organizers knew that the training has become essential towards the country’s fight against OSEC. In fact, it has become more relevant as the OSEC cases continued to rise due to the economic risks and technological advancements brought by the pandemic.
DRP Flores, together with Assistant City Prosecutor Peter Paul M. Tombo and Assistant Regional Prosecutor Ritzel R. Polinar, then created “OSEC WIPE Out ver. 1.0”, an online version of the anti-OSEC training which promises to be as, if not more, interactive than its face-to-face alternative. The training module took inspiration from these prosecutors’ actual collaborative experience with the Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Center – Mindanao Field Unit (PNP-WPCP-MFU) in the investigation and the conduct of rescue and entrapment operations of OSEC cases. It highlights the importance of the collaborative relationship between law enforcers and prosecutors in the successful implementation of warrants, the filing of OSEC cases in court, and the eventual conviction of OSEC offenders.
As of writing, the RATTF XI team had already conducted three versions of the training. OSEC WIPE Out ver. 1.0., held on October 28 to 30, 2020 with participants from Region XI. Its “ver. 2.0.” was held on March 22 to 26, 2021, with participants from Region II. Most recently, “ver. 3.0.” was held on July 16 to 23, 2021, with participants from Region XII (CARAGA). The resource persons and facilitators for the three versions include members from RATTF XI, US-DOJ, Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Australia Counter Trafficking (ASEAN-ACT), International Justice Mission (IJM), Justice Peace Integrity of Creation - Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC), Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Cebu, PNP-WCPC-MFU, AFP, and the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Unit.
The organizers target to conduct more trainings and to reach more participants from the different government agencies and civil societies in the future, in order to bolster our country’s endeavor to #WIPEOutOSEC.