Because it is considered a new crime, there are no statistics in the country, but the Undersecretary of Public Safety said that in the last two years 109 adults and 10 children were rescued from sexual exploitation.
The case of Emilia made the problem visible. They filmed pornographic videos and photographed low-income children through deception or with promises of money. The figures of the phenomenon of pornography account for the victims worldwide, including children, the money that moves, the role played by the Internet and how the latest cases recorded in Ecuador show that this problem is no longer foreign to the country.
Pornography is not considered the second industry that generates more income in the world, behind the sale of weapons that occupies the first place, and drug trafficking the third, according to studies of the United Nations (UN), which they are based on official data from member countries. According to a report drawn up in July 2017 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodoc), 21 million people are victims in the world of labor and sexual exploitation.
It specifies that 30% of victims of trafficking are children and 70% women and girls. It states that of 53,700 officially known cases, 54% are victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The American blog Business Pundit states that, based on data provided by the same UN, the prostitution industry moves worldwide $ 108,000 million a year, and that of pornography from $ 100,000 million to $ 500,000 million.; And goes further to emphasize that children have become the largest source of income and exploitation among sex merchants on the planet.
For example, from a Southeast Asian country, in order to attract customers, child pornography networks send free videos to emails. It shows children having sex with adults. Then they propose to the potential clients, for $ 50 a month, a subscription to receive all the pornography videos 24 hours a day, with minors from different cultures of the world.
In the sights third world countries, including Ecuador
According to studies prepared on the subject, especially by the UN, although child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children is a global phenomenon, criminal networks dedicated to this prefer the countries of the so-called third world to recruit their victims. Ecuador is not the exception. The case of the Lojana girl Emilia Benavides uncovered the pot: individuals filmed pornographic videos with children, especially those of limited means, who were given around $ 100. The abduction and death of Emilia shocked the country.
She was approached after school, by an acquaintance of her family who later turned out to be a minor member to film videos or take pictures of nude minors. Emilia was taken to a hostel, but as her disappearance in the social networks became viral, her captors panicked and killed her. The police found the whereabouts of the person who approached her and two others, who finally confessed to the crime.
Days later, the person who served as the member who linked the crime committed suicide in the prison of Turi, in Cuenca (Azuay), but the Police continued with the investigations. “We knew that Emilia’s death was not accidental, they killed her because behind her there was a powerful organization dedicated to child pornography and for fear of being discovered they killed her,” said one researcher who asked to reserve her name.
The Police, in raids carried out in different cities of the country, arrested 18 people, allegedly for being involved in child pornography. Diego Tipán, undersecretary of Citizen Security, said that the industry of child pornography and the trafficking of children and adolescents for the purpose of sexual exploitation has spread so much in the world that it forced the UN to carry out a new reclassification on the subject.
“The UN reclassified the concept of trafficking in women to trafficking in persons. Remember that this started in Europe, because it was done in allusion to European ethnic groups, “he said. He said that in Ecuador the issue of child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is new, but since 2015 official figures on this phenomenon have already been handled. According to Tipán, in 2015 a total of 26 people were rescued from sexual exploitation, but for 2016 it was increased to 46
However, these are the official figures, not the real ones, because in most cases those affected do not report. In relation to the number of detainees for this crime, Tipán indicated that in 2017 67 people were arrested
Poverty and social networks, the key to recruit victims
On the impact of social networks, the undersecretary of Citizen Security, Diego Tipán, said that, unfortunately, these as well as being useful for human beings, also serve to carry crimes such as child pornography. “They are positive if we know how to use them properly, but negative because we do not know who is on the other side,” he said.
As a way to counteract crime, the government works on prevention campaigns. Parents were invited to get involved in the project, since in the case of social networks there are methods to control access to porn videos and to know with whom the children are related. Rosa López, governor of El Oro, one of the provinces affected by the criminal phenomenon, indicated that children and adolescents, especially from the interior of the country and of scarce resources, are the main victims of trafficking handlers.
“In the province we have a house of protection for the victims, who are generally from poor sectors. This allows us to recover them, protect them and incorporate them into safer spaces, “he said. He added that in the aforementioned house an average of 50 children and adolescents rotate every six months, who have been rescued from the tentacles of international networks.
For Governor Lopez, the child pornography industry is a global phenomenon and Ecuador could not be safe from this evil. Therefore, she demanded a greater commitment from the family, revealed that the majority of children who fall into the clutches of this phenomenon come from dysfunctional homes.
“Education is the key to eradicating both child pornography and trafficking in women. We should not overlook that the clients are men and that tells us that it is maintained that the patriarchal structure is still valid in Ecuador ”
‘Alicia’, protected name, is currently 20 years old and was rescued after spending three years in prostitution in different brothels in the country. Her drama is that of every child who has fallen victim to sexual exploitation. She said that a person used a friend from school to convince her to run away from home and go with him. “I had problems at home, my father apart from drunk hit us, then I took the easy way, selling my body,” she narrated.
Regarding child pornography, investigators of the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office have identified that the videos are requested from abroad by the companies that profit from that. However, it is unknown how much they pay exactly for a video made with children and adolescents.
In the country is a topic that is not yet visible
Rocio Rosero, Vice Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, said that the issue of child pornography and trafficking is something that has to do with the need for public policies, special protection policies.
“The trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation focused on children and adolescents in Ecuador is a problem that has large dimensions, which is not visible. It is based on the consumption of prostitution, “she said. For Rosero, this consumption of pornography and trafficking, to a certain extent, also obeys to macho cultural practices that have not changed in Ecuador. “There we have a sociocultural problem that must be assumed with all clarity.”
According to the official, in the areas of oil production in the country is where sexual exploitation of children and adolescents most occurs. She said that the Government has created 6,000 family schools in the country, because the goal is prevention. Dayana León, Technical Secretary of the Council for Gender Equality, said that in child pornography and trafficking in Ecuador, Ecuador is no stranger. She acknowledged that in the country there are still no real figures on children who are victims of these crimes, but who work on the issue to make it visible and confront it. He agreed that a change in sociocultural patterns is necessary, educating the population on these issues.
According to the Unicef website, “sexual abuse and abuse are situations that often occur within families, which are not reported, illegal activities and therefore clandestine, often linked to organized crime: commercial sexual exploitation and treats, or situations of negligence and abuse that occur in State institutions: protection centers and penitentiaries.
A crime that leaves psychological and emotional sequels
Silvia Mancheno, dean of the School of Psychology of the Central University of Ecuador, argued that the best prevention is education, especially of parents. She stressed that the children, with the technology they have at their disposal today, are consumers of pornography and this also allows them to have or make friends with people who collaborate with criminal organizations, dedicated to pornography and trafficking in women. “It is an important and very painful issue for a society that their children leave what is a normal evolutionary process and are trapped within these networks of child pornography and corruption.
It is a crime against humanity because the possibility of peaceful development is avoided. “She said that the children and adolescents who have fallen victims of this network, later come to have serious psychological and personality development problems. “They have insecurity, uneasiness. Making big leaps in your sexual evolutionary process is very serious; the sexual process breaks down in an abrupt way, they develop phobias, anguish and money becomes a paramount thing in their lives, “explained the psychologist.
She indicated that she does not believe in the hardness of the law because what she does is “look for shortcuts”. Teresa Lomas, also a psychologist and university professor, said that poverty, marginalization and family disaffection have a lot to do in order for a child to be a victim of pornography and trafficking networks. “They have insecurity, fear, are aggressive and can even fall into dementia.” She said that the State should implement prevention policies, follow up on the family with the victims and treat the consumers of pornography. Lidia Rueda, of the Association of Relatives and Friends of Disappeared Persons, pointed out that the problem of children is not only to be victims of pornography but also of the trafficking of minors y women, for that reason it is in favor of the existence of tougher laws.
In three years, 16,661 cases of abuse were reported.
From the National Assembly, with regard to child pornography and the misuse of social networks, the thesis is defended that it is a matter of co-responsibility of society. Silvia Salgado, president of the Occasional Commission Aampetra, formed in the Assembly to investigate cases of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, indicated that the data undoubtedly speak of the fact that pornography worldwide has become the second most profitable in the world , surpassed only by the sale of weapons.
“This is a matter of co-responsibility of society, we need to be aware of the citizenship so that from the family, from the society, there is a combination of efforts to protect our children and adolescents,” she said. She believes that there should be a debate to deal with the issue of social networks and their negative influence on minors. “It is a risk for children, it is easy for criminal gangs and that is why it is necessary for the Prosecutor’s Office to have specialized units on the subject”.
According to Salgado, poverty does affect the trafficking of women and the use of children for child pornography. She said that the consumption of child pornography and all kinds of pornography accounts for anti-values. That is why those who consume this also have psychological problems and should be treated. He said that the crime of child pornography is classified in the Comprehensive Penal Code
For Assemblywoman Dallyana Passailaigue (PSC), trafficking in women and child pornography are crimes that should fall into the hands of specialized justice. “The problem of Ecuador is the cover-up and there must be a co-responsibility between State, society and family”. She said that after the abuses in Aampetra have been reported 16,661 cases of that nature in the last three years. For this member of the Education Commission, consumers of pornography are a social scourge and in relation to abuses against children abuses of power relations are generated and that is why it is the idea of having more rigid laws.
Lira de la Paz Villalva Miranda, member of the Justice Committee of the Assembly, does not share the opinion of her colleague Passailaigue to apply tougher laws, since the current regulation already establishes strong sanctions. “The important thing is to analyze and control the consumption of child pornography,” she said. That is why she is in favor of having public prevention policies. She agreed that a good solution would be to regulate social networks. “Citizens must intervene, there must be self-control of citizens,” she noted. She said that family disintegration and poverty are incentives for children to fall into these networks of traffickers and pornography. (I)