Face Your Peers: A Youth Peer Education Guide Against Sexual Exploitation
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, Plan International Philippines released a 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).
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 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.