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ON NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MONTH | NGOs confront issue of child trafficking in cyberspace

October 10, 2014 · 


October 6, 2014 1:33 PM
The online news portal of TV5


Sweetie is a computer-generated image of a 10-year-old Filipino girl used to trap pedophiles prowling the Internet. SCREENGRAB

MANILA – In line with National Children’s Month this October, civil society organizations (CSOs) focus on the problem of child trafficking in the Philippines as various anti-human trafficking stakeholders meet in Iloilo City for the second leg of the 2014 CSO Summit.

The theme is #UsingTech2EndChildTrafficking. In this CSO Summit, concerns on cyber trafficking and the youth’s vulnerability to such will be tackled, as well as initiatives to curb online child exploitation.

Slated on October 9 to 10, the second forum is spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), in partnership with global human rights organization International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“The Netherlands Embassy shares the goals of these three NGOs in anti-human trafficking efforts in the Philippines,” said Joop Scheffers, Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of The Netherlands. “The goal of this leg of the summit is to bring together civil society members, technological companies, and student leaders who can work together in combatting the exploitation of children.”

The Netherlands has a strong partnership with the Philippine government and civil society for anti-human trafficking efforts.

“Anti-human trafficking advocates can learn about current strategies to protect children from violence, ongoing government and CSO efforts in addressing gaps in the public justice system, and how the youth, as well as various other groups, can help advocate to fill those gaps,” said Atty. Samson Inocencio, Jr., IACAT Children’s Sector Representative and IJM Manila Field Office Director.

The summit will highlight anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) innovations and digital tools that drive awareness and action against cases of child abuses in cyberspace. Regional tech companies presenting include Cebu-based data services provider DataMotivate and the infotech company Mynd Consulting from Davao.

While the internet has been used to exploit children, information and communications technology has also become instrumental to combat human trafficking. Among these are online campaigns, mobile apps and other technologies that are available 24/7, which advocates can tap to take part in the multi-sectoral campaign against human trafficking.

Likewise, experts in the field will share the latest reports on the national government and local government units’ TIP programs and efforts.

“We have worked with some of the most noteworthy organizations in the field who have devoted years in dealing with the problem of human trafficking,” according to Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, in charge of IACAT, as he said, “this partnership with non-government organizations, faith-based organizations and civil society as well as the intensified foreign efforts, such as that from the Netherlands Embassy, gives us the opportunity to approach the problem with a scalpel instead of an axe.”

“We are optimistic of our odds in this fight against trafficking of human beings, particularly child trafficking, because of the emerging partnerships that we create which allows us to come up with new methods to bring this crime from the shadows into the light,” Salazar added.

The first leg of the CSO Summit, held last August in Manila, was organized by IACAT with the Blas F. Ople Policy Center (BFOC) and focused on labor trafficking, specifically of overseas Filipino workers. The last one, to be organized by the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. (VFFI), happens on November in Davao and centers on the women’s sector.

ON NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MONTH | NGOs confront issue of child trafficking in cyberspace


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