The Philippines and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to curb human trafficking and cyber child pornography through the rollout of several activities in line with the two countries’ Child Protection Compact (CPC), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Aguirre, who is also chairman of Interagency Council Against Child Trafficking (IACAT), cited the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) has awarded USD3.5 million (PHP175 million) to its implementing partners the International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Salvation Army World Service Office.
The IACAT led the CPC Partnership negotiations for the Philippine government where they also intend to allot USD784,000 (PHP40 million) to uphold the partnership’s objectives.
“Being the first in the region, the CPC partnership aims to support sustainable improvements to combat online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking and to expand specialized child protection services and prevention efforts to further improve the coordination among coordinating agencies,” he explained.
Aguirre noted both the IJM and the Salvation Army have begun collectively working with the Philippine government and other civil society organizations to strengthen the government’s determination “to investigate, prosecute, and convict child traffickers; give a wide-ranging, trauma informed care for child victims of such crimes; and to stop online sexual exploitation of children and forced labor from happening.”
The agreement was signed earlier this year by Aguirre and US Charge d’Affaires Michael S. Klecheski.
Furthermore, Aguirre said that the IJM and other implementing partners would work with the government to develop sustainable long-term care for child victims of online sexual exploitation by investing in foster care systems for recovering survivors.
He added the IJM and its partner organizations and agencies would also give technical support to local government units and other partners to enhance the current community-based exploitation and labor trafficking.
The Justice Secretary also said the rehabilitation programs would be developed for the comprehensive care of child survivors on online sexual exploitation in Manila and Central Visayas as the social workers, and other stakeholders would aid these child victims in terms of psychological care and legal services.
He said the program would be developed by the Salvation Army and its local implementing partners and with the cooperation of various sectors of the government, building a better future for Filipino children is now in our grasp.
“The commencement of (these) activities under the Child Protection Compact underscores our serious commitment to protect our children from the evil snares of human trafficking and of cyber child pornography. I have said this time and again, nobody has any right to destroy the future and the innocence of our children. You come after our children and we will come after you,” Aguirre added. (Philippine News Agency)