MANILA, October 19, 2017 — The U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Philippines’ Department of Justice Interagency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) announced the launch of activities to implement the U.S.-Philippines Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, signed in Manila earlier this year by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Michael S. Klecheski and Philippine Secretary of Justice Vitaliano N. Aguirre II.
The State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) led the negotiations for the United States and awarded $3.5 million USD (PhP 175 million) to two implementing partners: International Justice Mission (IJM) and The Salvation Army World Service Office. The IACAT led the CPC Partnership negotiations for the Philippine government and intends to provide PhP 40 million ($784,000 USD) to support the partnership’s objectives. The TIP Office will continue to work with IACAT and other participating departments during the partnership’s four-year implementation period. Activities will focus primarily in the National Capital Region (Manila) and Central Visayas.
The CPC Partnership is the first of its kind in the region and will support sustainable improvements in the capacity of the Philippine government and civil society to combat online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking, to expand specialized child protection services and prevention efforts, and to improve coordination among duty bearers in responsible agencies.
“Ending the threat of child trafficking is a priority for our government and we are committed to further enhancing interagency coordination to investigate and prosecute this crime and expand comprehensive services for child trafficking victims through this Partnership,” said Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito, Executive Director of the Department of Justice’s IACAT.
As CPC Partnership implementing partners, IJM and The Salvation Army have begun working collaboratively with the government of the Philippines and other civil society organizations to support the government’s efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict child traffickers; provide comprehensive, trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes; and prevent online sexual exploitation of children and forced child labor from occurring.
For example, IJM will build on the model it has developed alongside the Philippine government for investigation and prosecution of online sexual exploitation of children and increased protection for children. Activities will focus on geographical hotspots for online sexual exploitation of children and will result in strengthened criminal deterrence and protection for vulnerable children in the target regions and nationally.
In addition, IJM and other implementing partners will work closely with the government to expand sustainable long-term care for child victims of online sexual exploitation by investing in foster care systems for recovering survivors. IJM and its partners will also provide technical support to local government units and other partners to strengthen existing community-based mechanisms for preventing, identifying, and protecting child victims of online sexual exploitation and labor trafficking.
The Salvation Army and local implementing partners will develop and strengthen systems for comprehensive care of child survivors of online sexual exploitation in Manila and Central Visayas. Its work will include supporting social workers and other stakeholders to identify child victims of online sexual exploitation and strengthen comprehensive service delivery for survivors, with a focus on enhancing psychosocial care and legal services. The program will increase the availability of much needed shelter and comprehensive services for child victims of online sexual exploitation.
“This Partnership represents a unique opportunity for the United States to partner with the government of the Philippines on an issue of the highest importance – building a better future for vulnerable Filipino children,” said U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim. (U.S. Embassy News)