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Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

This is a form of exploitation that was unimaginable before the digital age.

OSEC, or the online sexual exploitation of children, sees children sexually abused in real-time by traffickers who then spread or sell images or videos of the exploitation online—even livestreaming the abuse for sex offenders to direct from anywhere in the world.

Perpetrators of online sexual exploitation of children are shielded by the virtual world of the internet, but there is nothing virtual about the crime.

Before the internet, criminals had to physically go to a bar or brothel to sexually exploit children.

Now, abusers located anywhere in the world can exploit children without ever leaving their homes.

In cases of online sexual exploitation of children, children are sexually abused by traffickers who then spread or sell images or videos of the exploitation online—even livestreaming the abuse for sex offenders to direct from anywhere in the world.


Reports of online sexual exploitation of children are skyrocketing.

In the Philippines, a global hotspot for this crime, the estimated number of IP addresses used for child sexual exploitation more than tripled between 2014 and 2017.

COVID-19 created a perfect storm for this abuse, as children were trapped at home with their abusers. In the Philippines in 2020, 1.2 million online tips were reported of possible online sexual exploitation of children activities—three times more than in 2019.

Online perpetrators are shielded by the virtual world of the internet, but there is nothing virtual about the crime.

Online abuse occurs in real-time: girls and boys are forced to perform sex acts on themselves or each other, are molested by an adult, or are exploited in other violent ways.

Yet the mobile nature of the crime makes it easier to evade law enforcement. Unlike trafficking in bars or brothels with a permanent address, victims can be moved to and abused in any location with a computer and a webcam, or just a mobile phone.

Yet, through collaboration, from 2016-2020, IJM, our partners and trained governments have rescued more than 620 children from online sexual exploitation and had restrained 200 suspected perpetrators from hurting other children.

Change is happening. Since 2016, thanks to IJM and trained partners

620+ children have been brought to safety from online sexual exploitation

200 suspected perpetrators have been restrained from hurting other children.

Maarko's Story

Maarko is a survivor of online sexual exploitation of children. This is Maarko's story.
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IJM's 15 years of work in the Philippines led to a dramatic decrease in the prevalence of sex trafficking of children in bars and brothels—reductions ranging from 72%-86% in the cities where IJM partnered with local authorities.[1]


Within five years, IJM, our partners and trained governments had rescued more than 620 children from online sexual exploitation and had restrained 200 suspected perpetrators from hurting other children.[2]

IJM’s teams in the Philippines are partnering with justice system leaders—from police to prosecutors to social services—to hold traffickers accountable and support survivors throughout the legal process. We are also partnering with social services and community organizations to ensure survivors can access the trauma informed care and resources they need to live safely and sustainably.

When 12-year-old Cassie moved to Manila, she had big dreams.

But what she found there was a nightmare. She was raped in front of a camera for a paying audience.

Will you help send rescue to children like Cassie?

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This is a global crime, requiring a truly global response—a response that ends both the supply and demand of online sexual exploitation of children.

Help end online sexual exploitation of children

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When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery and violence in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.

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