On April 11, 2017, the United States and the Philippines signed the U.S.-Philippines Child Protection Compact Partnership, a four-year jointly developed and implemented plan between the two governments to strengthen the capacity of the Philippine government and civil society to address online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and child labor trafficking (CLT) in the Philippines, specifically improving their ability to prosecute and convict child traffickers, provide comprehensive, trauma-informed care for victims, and prevent these crimes from occurring. The Partnership facilitated a TIP Office investment of $4.9 million in U.S. foreign assistance. The Philippine Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) also pledged approximately $921,760 to meet CPC Partnership objectives. The Partnership formally ended on April 11, 2021.
Foreign Assistance Awards to Support the U.S.-Philippines CPC Partnership
In October 2017, the TIP Office announced the award of funds totaling $3.5 million (with additional future funds, the U.S. investment totaled $4.9 million) to International Justice Mission and the Salvation Army for activities in support of the U.S.-Philippines CPC Partnership. These CPC implementing partners worked collaboratively with Philippine ministries and other civil society organizations to combat child trafficking in the National Capital Region (Manila) and Central Visayas (Region VII).
International Justice Mission (IJM)
Summary: International Justice Mission (IJM)’s worked with the Government of the Philippines to improve its capacity to prevent and respond to OSEC and CLT through increased prosecutions of OSEC offenders, enhanced protection for survivors of OSEC and CLT, and strengthened prevention and local-level response for vulnerable children in the Philippines.
- 82 operations, resulting in 312 child victims rescued and the arrest of 97 suspected perpetrators
- 237 law enforcement officers and 95 public prosecutors provided with training to prosecute and adjudicate OSEC cases in a victim-centered approach
- 54 aftercare service providers trained in identifying and providing comprehensive services for victims of OSEC and CLT
- Assistance in the placement of OSEC survivors in foster care families, ensuring sustainable support for children recovering from exploitative situations
- IJM’s partner, World Vision, provided technical support to local governments and civil society to strengthen community-based mechanisms for identifying and preventing child trafficking victims. This was reflected in 15 new functional Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPCs) on OSEC and CLT prevention, and 15 Community Child Protection Advocates groups being developed
- Developed and disseminated the study “OSEC in the Philippines: Analysis and Recommendations for Governments, Industry and Civil Society,” and co-hosted the Global Resolve Against OSEC: a virtual summit that enabled the Philippine government the opportunity to take a more leadership role in global OSEC response. Both the research and the summit offered the opportunity to share successful and emerging OSEC intervention practices in prosecution, aftercare, investigations, technology-based solutions, and community-based interventions, including those emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Salvation Army
Summary: The Salvation Army and its local implementing partners worked to develop and strengthen systems to provide comprehensive care to survivors of OSEC in the National Capitol Region and Central Visayas.
- Partnered with the National Association of Social Workers’ Education Inc. to develop and pilot an academic curriculum to raise awareness of OSEC in undergraduate curriculum of colleges/universities with social work programs in the Philippines
- Developed a practitioners’ curriculum for social workers to learn specific therapeutic interventions for OSEC survivors. 120 social workers were trained to use it
- 44 OSEC survivors placed in shelters managed by The Salvation Army and/or its partners, where survivors were provided with comprehensive services and care
- Conducted 147 family tracing assessments to determine the feasibility of survivors to reintegrate with their family.
- 149 survivors and their families participated in family bonding activities/therapy once the survivor was reintegrated, further strengthening the family system. Reintegration support was provided to 118 survivors and their families through educational, medical, livelihood or additional therapeutic interventions
- Supported Dr. Keri Bassett’s and her team conduct the study, “Psychological Needs of OSEC Survivors,” the findings of which informed the enhancement of training curricula and approaches to interventions of OSEC survivors
Accomplishments of the Government of the Philippines
As a result of the CPC Partnership, the Philippine government prioritized action steps that strengthened their existing efforts to combat all forms of child trafficking. Some of those accomplishments include:
- Establishment of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC) in 2019, a collaborative initiative between the Philippine National Police — Women and Children’s Protection Center (PNP-WCPC), the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human-Trafficking Division (NBI AHTRAD), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UK NCA) and IJM.
- Increase in Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) partnerships with civil society organizations, private sectors, and stakeholders to provide more preventative and protective responses for child trafficking victims.
- Utilization of victim-centered investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, such as plea bargaining and video in-depth interview (VIDI) kits.
To sustain the work accomplished during the CPC Partnership, the government developed new initiatives that built off the Partnership’s previous achievements. Some of those accomplishments include:
- Adoption of the Prosecuting Online Sexual Exploitation training, initiated under the CPC, by IACAT task forces which is being rolled out to other regional task forces.
- Construction of the first IACAT shelter and one-stop shop that serves victims of human trafficking. The shelter for trafficking survivors is a two-story building that can accommodate 24 women, 6 men, 14 girls, and 10 boys.
- Continuation of the government’s advocacy programs and partnerships with local government units (LGUs) through the Department of Interior and Local Government . The IACAT’s main advocacy program for LGUs, the “Barangay IACAT” was officially launched in 2019 with the aim of reaching out to the general public to better understand the situation of trafficking in persons at the grassroots level.