Like his friends, he earns up to 200 dollars per month.
These children may suffer from long-term psychological harm, in addition to missing the chance for an education.
At the age of 15, Angel began connecting with foreign men in chat rooms. “They told me ‘Angel, it’s really nice to chat with the foreign guys because you can earn money.’” For several hours every day, Angel is online with men from North America and Europe.
“They tell me that, ‘I will send you money if you show me your body, your naked body,’ and yes I will show it, and they will send me money.” The world he and his friends inhabit is the seedy collection of internet cafes, some of them with private cubicles, where teenagers can ‘perform’ on web-cams for foreign customers.
Close by the new internet cafes that have been springing up in local cities, are the offices of remittance companies, where the teenagers can be paid instantly by their overseas clients.
“I support my mother together with my sister and her kids, and my grandmother,” said Angel’s friend, Katrina, who has found himself the family’s bread winner at age 17.
By Rob Mc Bride CEBU, Philippines, 15 December 2008 – In a poor shanty in the Central Philippines city of Cebu, a tiny internet café offers broadband connectivity with the outside world.
In a place that lacks running water, the opportunities presented by the existence of the internet are boundless.
But along with these opportunities are the inherent risks posed by the net.
A growing number of youths in the Philippines are being drawn into a dangerous world of sexual exploitation by foreigners they meet online.
UNICEF is also promoting a charter which lays down a code of conduct for internet cafes to follow to make them safer for children.