The Philippines and United States have signed a Child Protection Compact (CPC), to help prevent younsters being trafficked for sex and and other exploitation.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who is also the chairman of the inter-agency council against trafficking (IACAT), signed the agreement with US Chargé d’Affaires Michael Klecheski yesterday (Tuesday, April 11).
Under the agreement, the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons will provide up to $3.5 million to help the Philippines tackle child trafficking.
Aguirre said that they planned to strengthen community-based mechanisms to identify and protect child victims and pursue more prosecutions.
The programme will be piloted in the National Capital Region and Central Visayas before being rolled out across the country.
Secretary Aguirre said: “To protect the future generation of Filipinos from exploitation by organised criminal groups, the Philippines and the United States took it as a responsibility to device a concerted and well-coordinated response against child labour trafficking.”
In June last year, the US recognised the Philippine government’s anti-trafficking efforts and classified the country as Tier 1 for its efforts, the only Southeast Asian Country to be given the ranking.
Tier 1 countries “fully meet” the minimum standards “for the elimination of human trafficking”.
As well as being used to increase efforts to identify victims, the money will also fund programmes aimed at reducing the demand for child sex tourism and online exploitation.