PH child sexual exploitation still a concern — justice secretary

5:44 pm on 9 December 2022, Friday

By Ryan Louis Mantilla

Despite its fight to stop such horrendous acts, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla admitted that the Philippines still leads in child sexual exploitation, placing the country as "no. 1 in the world."
The justice secretary told the reporters that the country remains a global hotspot in child sexual exploitation during the courtesy call of Mama Fatima Singhateh, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children.

"We're No. 1 in the world," said Remulla, adding that the crime must stop immediately.

“Yun ang effort talaga ng gobyerno ni Pangulong Marcos. Itigil na itong status ng Pilipinas na nangunguna tayo sa child sexual exploitation,” he added.

(The Marcos administration is working to end the Philippines' position as the world's top perpetrator of child sex exploitation.)

Singhateh concluded her 11-day official visit to the country with a courtesy call on Remulla at the Department of Justice office in Padre Faura, Manila.
She recognized the Philippine government's effort to fight child sexual exploitation and the passage of necessary laws to combat such crimes, including Republic Act 11596 or An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations and Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC), among others.
She also noted that the country made significant efforts to protect children against sexual abuse and exploitation. However, the UN rapporteur asserted that more actions must be done. 

"The Philippines remains a source and destination country for child trafficking, sale, sexual abuse, forced marriage, among others, and forced labor. There's a lack of all limited information on the scale of incidences of child trafficking and how victims are exploited," she pointed out.

"I'll be recommending the establishing of a children's home exclusively dedicated to providing an accommodating and caring for all child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, where all the services are provided for the children in the same place under one roof," she added.

She also explained that the Philippine government must also put an effort to collate "accurate data for incidences of the different manifestations, the number of cases reported, the convicted cases on sexual abuse and exploitation of children."

Singhateh added that it is important to "systematically collect reliable, centralized, and disaggregated data by age, gender, ethnicity, disability including the number of prosecutions and convictions related to child sexual abuse cases."

Remulla, on the other hand, stated that he gave Singhateh a letter to inform her about the government's effort against child sexual exploitation.

"Actually, we've declared war on this. It's the first thing we did since the inception of the Marcos regime," he said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday released data from the United States National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline, showing an increase in alleged child sexual exploitation cases in the country, from over 1.3 million in 2020 to almost 3.1 million in 2021.


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