Alexa (21) met someone online through Facebook when she was 16. The man enticed her to meet up in person. That went poorly: Alexa was raped and held against her will in a hotel in Cebu. She was rescued and then had to get help for a long time to cope with this terrible trauma. Alexa is now doing well; she finished school and is now studying. Her wish is that every child in the Philippines can go to school.
Moving to your aunt's house in a new city because you can no longer live with your own parents is stressful. As Alexa tried to cope with the changes, she found it helpful to get to know new people through social media.
She had no idea of the possible dangers. This dark side of the online world is unknown to many children. "I met a nice person through Facebook. He wanted to meet me, but that went poorly. I was raped and held in a hotel room. I was only found by the authorities after two days."
After being rescued, Alexa stayed in a shelter for two months. She was traumatized and now had to try, under the guidance of local aid organizations and authorities, to process what she had experienced. What helped her was that she was not the only victim of online sexual abuse. She also heard the stories of other girls, all of whom had also experienced something horrific. During this journey, Alexa also received financial support that allowed her to start school.
School was more than a learning environment for her: she made friends she connected with and was able to get distracted, which helped her process everything.
"It is my dream to teach children. Especially children who cannot go to school because there is no money. I want to teach them, but also be their example and show them that anything is possible. I want to tell them to always keep believing in their dreams. That they should keep going to school and keep telling themselves that they can do it."
Our new action plan aims to prevent online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines. Stop online abuse, donate now!
The number of Filipino children sexually exploited online has tripled in the past 3 years and continues to grow rapidly. For example, children are forced into sexual acts through social media. They are unaware of the online dangers beforehand or have to earn their money this way due to poverty. This traumatic experience can lead to developmental problems, negative self-image, depression and even suicide.
Terre des Hommes protects vulnerable children so they can develop in a safe environment. With our new action plan, we want to prevent online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines.