In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, Plan International Philippines released a new peer education guide for Filipino youth aged 12-24 to prevent and protect girls and young women in the age group from the growing threats of commercial and online sexual exploitation (CSEC and OSEC). The module titled ‘Face Your Peers’ is the first of its kind and offers a new approach at decreasing the number of commercial and online sexual exploitation cases in the country, such as trafficking and prostitution. Apart from supporting victim-survivors to speak out and raise awareness of the issue, the global organization has taken on the role of calling on those who can influence change in the system. Developed with partners under the Girls Advocacy Alliance, the contents of the guide book include modules on the CSEC and OSEC landscape in the Philippines, youth-friendly activities for peer-to-peer communication, tips for self-care for volunteer peer educators, and guidelines on how to handle disclosures and report cases in their communities.
In a perfect world, every child would be happy and healthy, free from hunger and want, and safe from neglect and abuse. They would grow up to reach their full potential to actively participate in the society. Today, that is not always the case. Millions of children live with the risk of abuse and exploitation. In fact, many children and youth all over the Philippines experience what is called Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC). These forms of exploitation can leave long-term and devastating effects on young persons, which lead to developing physical, emotional, social, and psychological problems that threaten their futures.
While these topics are sensitive, it is important to discuss them to help children and youth be aware, to empower them with the right tools to protect themselves, and give them the proper support at such a critical developmental period. All of us: whether children, youth, and adults—have the responsibility to foster an environment that will help children and the youth speak out, participate openly, and be encouraged to lead healthy discussions about CSEC and OSEC.
As a young person who has the capacity to serve as a peer educator, you have the opportunity and potential to serve as a role model to your fellow peers by helping them become more informed and equipped to avoid abuse and exploitation. As a peer who understands the concerns of your fellow peer, your support in discussing these issues can lead to lives being saved, and more children able to protect themselves.
The “Face your PEERS: A Youth Peer Education Guide Against Sexual Exploitation of Children” is a Youth Peer Educators’ Guide (YPE Guide) that aims to incorporate the principle of peer education as an effective approach for empowering children and youth on issues related to sexual abuse and exploitation.
Specifically, this YPE Guide aims to:
- Increase the awareness of children and youth on sexual abuse and exploitation, particularly on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) through mutual sharing of information and experiences among themselves.
- Increase the capacity of children and youth to tackle and prevent sexual exploitation through peer-to-peer learning sessions.
- Establish a support mechanism among children and youth especially among the victim-survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation.
This guide will help you—the reader, and other young people understand various concepts related to CSEC and OSEC, and provide advice on how to deal with online and commercial sexual exploitation, and stop it before it happens. It will also help young people like you to give other children and youth easy to understand and comprehensive guidance that can be shared, practiced, and used.
Face Your PEERS: A Youth Peer Education Guide Against Sexual Exploitation
The YPE Guide contains three modules that aim to raise the awareness of potential peer educators like you, on topics of CSEC and OSEC. This guide will help build your skills in peer education so that you can share what you have learned to other young persons and help them get the support they need.
First, it is suggested that you read Module 1 on Becoming a Peer Educator. It will help you understand what peer education is, and why it is important. It will also help you gain knowledge on the role of a peer educator, and show how you can prepare for it. This Module will also teach you strategies on how you can communicate with your peers, and show how you can care for yourself while you help others.
Next, proceed with Module 2 on Understanding the Commercial and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, which will introduce you to the concept of CSEC and OSEC. It will explain what CSEC and OSEC is, and present relevant research and data. It will detail how young persons are exploited, and how exploitation a ects them. It will enumerate the signs and symptoms of CSEC and OSEC that you must look out for. It will give you a background on the perpetrators of CSEC and OSEC, as well as the vulnerabilities of young persons to CSEC and OSEC. Module 2 also details factors that help prevent CSEC and OSEC, and the local child protection mechanisms in the Philippines. The module ends by sharing with you how to report cases and suspicions of CSEC and OSEC.
Finally, Module 3 on Establishing Support Mechanisms will provide you with the resources to help support other young people, especially those who have been sexually abused and exploited. It will provide you with tips on protecting yourself and your peers from CSEC and OSEC. It will describe the process of disclosure of young persons, and how you can respond to them. Support resources are provided at the end of the module.
Each of the modules include a set of objectives that lay out what you expect to learn. It also contains activities that will help in internalizing the information provided.
These modules have been created in the hopes of dispelling fears around the topic of commercial and sexual exploitation. A child or youth who is empowered and confident to speak out about the topic will be able to face their fears and peers.
Are you ready to embark on your journey of becoming a peer educator on CSEC and OSEC?
Turn the page to face your fears, and FACE YOUR PEERS!