"The evil of human trafficking should be fought on all fronts. We should channel our collective efforts towards eradicating it. Anything that debases or dehumanizes the dignity of a person is an abomination that must end. Slavery and exploitation has no place in any society. Any act that which enslaves or exploits our children magnifies the evil a hundredfold."
- Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II
Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, signed the Child Protection Compact (CPC) with the US Embassy represented by US Chargé d’Affaires Michael Klecheski.
On the 11th of April 2017 at the Executive Lounge, Department of Justice, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, with the assistance of the Government of the United States of America, advances the country’s campaign against trafficking of children through the signing of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership. Discussions regarding this partnership started as early as August of 2016.
Through the agreement, both the aforementioned governments acknowledge the increasing reports of Filipino children being victims of online sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and other forms of child labor trafficking. These Filipino children are subjected to lasting psychological, physical ad developmental consequences that hinder their growth and development.
To protect the future generation of Filipinos from exploitation by organized criminal groups, the Philippines and the United States took it as a responsibility to device a concerted and well-coordinated response against child labor trafficking.
As stated earlier, the CPC Partnership is a 4-year joint undertaking between the Philippine and American governments. To suppress online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and child labor trafficking (CLT), both countries have separate but shared responsibility as stipulated in the partnership. Philippines’ Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) will assume leadership roles and responsibilities.
CPC is primed to accomplish three objectives. Firstly, it seeks to increase the number of victims-centered investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of OSEC and CLT cases. Secondly, it seeks to strengthen government’s and civil society’s capacities to identify and provide comprehensive services for victims. Thirdly, it seeks to strengthen existing community-based mechanisms for identifying and protecting child victims of OSEC and CLT.
The TIP Office intended to provide up to $3.5 million in U.S. foreign assistance to nongovernmental and/or international organizations to support the implementation of the CPC partnership. $3.0 million of the said fund will be allocated to support capacity-building related to improving Philippines’ response to OSEC. The remaining $500,000 of the same fund will be used to support activities related to Philippines’ response to CLT.
On the other hand, IACAT will provide PhP 40 million. Php 25 million of the said fund will be allocated to activities addressing CLT. The remaining Php 15 million will be allocated to activities addressing OSEC.
Both enhanced strategies against OSEC and CLT will be piloted in two regions, namely: the National Capital Region (NCR) and Central Visayas (Region 7).
Other Philippine government agencies involved in the said contract are the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Protection, prevention, prosecution and punishment. Let us not leave no stone unturned in our avowed purpose to protect our children. Let us send a message, a strong one at that. Hurt our children, and we will come after you. And you will not like it, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre said.