Thursday, June 1

On the sale and sexual exploitation of children

THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the upcoming visit to the Philippines of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, on 28 November to 8 December 2022, upon invitation from the government.

The Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography, and other child sexual abuse material, has the mandate to analyze the root causes of the sale and sexual exploitation of children and identify new and emerging patterns of the phenomena. In addition, she is also mandated to exchange good practices to combat the said problem, promote preventive measures, and make recommendations for the rehabilitation of victims.

The Commission is hopeful that the visit will help enhance the capacity of government agencies and actors to protect children from all forms of abuse, particularly those involving the use of information and communication technology, which have become rampant in recent years.

It will also be an opportunity for the government to showcase the measures and mechanisms it has implemented to uphold and protect the rights of child victims of sale and sexual exploitation. It is also expected that the Philippines will learn more about surrogacy, illegal adoption, and online child sexual exploitation, which are the UNSR’s areas of interest.

CHR sees this development as a demonstration of the government’s openness and resolve to address the urgent situation of vulnerable children in the Philippines. It is also notable that Republic Act No. 11930 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Law has lapsed into law on 30 July 2022.

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The upcoming engagement with the UNSR is an opportune time to ensure that learnings and recommendations will be adopted in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the said law. At the same time, we urge for the expeditious completion of the IRR to immediately enforce the law and reduce the risk for children.

As we anticipate a productive engagement between the government and the UNSR, we also look forward to its meaningful translation into concrete mechanisms and policies that would improve the plight of vulnerable children and curb all forms of abuses suffered by them.

As the country’s independent national human rights institution, CHR continues to be willing and ready to work with the government in upholding the rights and dignity of children. We also continue to remind all key stakeholders and the public of our collective duty to create a safe, enabling, and empowering society for all Filipino children, both online and offline. (CHR STATEMENT)