Protecting Our Children
Updated: Oct 19
I’ve been living in the Philippines for over four years now and as much as I would have loved to dwell on the beautiful things that this country has shown me, I had to eventually face the reality that the Philippines, just like every other country, isn’t immune to evil. I’ve unfortunately encountered young girls coming from poor neighborhoods who claim to have modeling jobs—it turns out these modeling jobs aren’t as glamorous as they make them out them to be, but lead into a ring of human trafficking. I’ve also experienced going out into the streets with a group called Cruzada, started and led by one of our servers, where we pray for and often speak to those working in the prostitution business. I’ve even had the beautiful, yet heartbreaking opportunity with Pure Heart to speak to an audience of women who had been rescued or left the prostitution business.
These experiences left me feeling powerless. There are girls that I see monthly who are getting into this so-called "business", and if they stay in this business, I have already seen where they could end up. I had no idea what to do or how to stop it.
At one of our monthly formations, we invited Attorney Maria Liza Jorda, a prosecutor in Cebu City who focuses on child sex trafficking, to speak to us about sex trafficking in the Philippines. Apparently Cebu has been identified as a “cybersex hotspot”! Attorney Jorda told us a little bit about how the child pornography business works. The business often runs out of simple homes in the mountains and some red flags that indicate that there might be child pornography happening in a house are simple houses having a large antenna protruding from it with many children outside waiting or unexplained wealth in a short period.
The most heartbreaking thing in all of this is that the family, who are supposed to love and protect the child, are often the ones allowing it. The family often wrongly convinces themselves that the online exploitation doesn’t hurt their child. The best way to prevent the online exploitation of children is for families to be healed and strengthened so that the families can forego any monetary compensation for the sake of the safety and well-being of the child. Attorney Jorda then told us that as Pure Heart Servers we can help to prevent the online exploitation of children by being available to the youth and letting them know they have someone to talk to. We also have a duty to report to the authorities if there is proof of any online exploitation.
To me, this information confirms the mission of Pure Heart Philippines. It shows that the family is the building block of society and is the most important aspect of the development of a child. This monthly formation gave us the encouragement and information to see our youth in a different way—as youth who may one day become mothers and fathers of a family, who can contribute to building a civilization of love.
Written by Bulay Miñano, founder of Pure Heart Philippines.