CHR backs stronger Senate bill vs child trafficking
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said it is supporting a Senate bill seeking tougher actions against child trafficking, stressing its importance in time of a pandemic where quarantined sex offenders spend more time online.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 1974 authorizes court-sanctioned surveillance of online activities to prevent child trafficking.
“The Commission welcomes the provision in this landmark bill to include the responsibilities of internet service providers (ISPs) and tourism-oriented establishments to proactively report such cases to law enforcement agencies and to prevent similar abuse,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann De Guia said in a statement.
With the lockdowns imposed worldwide, De Guia noted the increase in online sexual exploitation of children.
“Quarantined online sex offenders are spending more time online, and vulnerable women and children are also confined at home, often with their traffickers. We recognise that in times of a health crisis, response to trafficked individuals is even more difficult,” she said.
Citing the UNICEF, De Guia said the Philippines has become “the global epicentre of the live-stream sexual abuse trade” where children are targeted as victims.
“The challenge remains for us to protect the most vulnerable individuals while swiftly prosecuting their abusers,” she said.
De Guia recognized that Gatchalian’s proposed measure will “fortify collaborations among agencies to address the human trafficking issue in the country.”
If signed into law, De Guia said the bill would “give more teeth” to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 “to provide standards and guidelines on surveillance, interception, investigation, and prosecution of different forms of human trafficking, including sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labor, slavery, removal or sale of organs, and pornography.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.