US, PH ‘successfully’ conclude child protection compact

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MANILA – A total of 356 child victims of online sexual exploitation have been assisted while 97 traffickers were arrested through the four-year Philippine-United States Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership that successfully concluded this month, the US Embassy in Manila reported Thursday.

During the final high-level dialogue on CPC, US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) Acting Director Dr. Kari Johnstone said she looks forward to new initiatives to sustain the government and the civil society’s “improved capacity” achieved under the partnership.”

“We celebrate the tremendous work accomplished under the Child Protection Compact Partnership over the last four years and look ahead towards new initiatives to sustain the improved capacity of both the Government of the Philippines and civil society organizations achieved under this partnership,” she said.

Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law added that the CPC allowed the US, the Philippine government, and civil society organizations to build a “solid foundation reflected in various efforts” aimed at eliminating all forms of exploitation against children.

“I remain confident that this Partnership will become even more effective at combating many forms of abuse against of children in the years to come,” he said.

The CPC partnership was signed in 2017 and concluded on April 11, 2021.

Over its four-year implementation, it strengthened both the government and civil society’s capacity to address the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and child labor trafficking, specifically on prosecuting and convicting traffickers as well as providing trauma-informed care for victims.

Throughout the partnership, the TIP Office committed PHP237 million (USD4.9 million) while the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) pledged approximately PHP44.6 million (USD921,760).

Programming was implemented by partner organizations International Justice Mission and The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army trained more than 355 social workers on victim-centered care and directly supported 44 survivors while the International Justice Mission has identified 312 child victims and facilitated the arrests of 97 perpetrators.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said: “Through the CPC, the Philippine government has been able to carve out a more targeted and focused response to OSEC by identifying key objectives and adjusting critical resources in order to address priority responses in the prevention and prosecution of OSEC cases as well as the protection of victim-survivors.”

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