DSWD slams Facebook for inaction against pages selling babies

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) slammed Facebook for failing to remove pages allegedly involved in the online selling of children, disguised as adoption.

Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian criticized the social media giant’s lack of response, highlighting the potential for abuse. “The unregulated freedom on Facebook should come with responsibilities,” he stated. “It can be a very cruel tool, especially when used for human trafficking.”

The DSWD’s National Authority for Child Care (NACC) reportedly flagged the issue in 2023, identifying 20 to 30 Facebook accounts suspected of child trafficking. The agency has been working with the Philippine National Police to handle the matter.

Meta’s policies define human trafficking as “the business of depriving someone of liberty for profit.” It is the “exploitation of humans to force them to engage in commercial sex, labor, or other activities against their will. It relies on deception, force, and coercion, and degrades humans by depriving them of their freedom while economically or materially benefiting others.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines has strict laws against child trafficking under Republic Act 9208, with penalties ranging from 12 years imprisonment to hefty fines. However, enforcing these laws requires cooperation from social media platforms like Facebook.

Source: GMA News Online, PhilStar Global
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