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Legarda calls for stricter implementation of child protection laws

January 17, 2014

MANILA, Philippine—Senator Loren Legarda on Friday called for the strict implementation of anti-trafficking and child protection laws “to put a stop to the illegal human trade” in the country.

Legarda, principal sponsor of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as heads of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should help in totally eliminating trafficking syndicates.

“There’s another storm brewing in our country. While our poor citizens, women and children and other survivors of recent calamities are still reeling from the effects of disasters, some of them are exposed to greater danger as they are preyed upon by human trafficking syndicates,” she said in a statement.
“But this is just one of the many areas that traffickers use as opportunity to advance their devious schemes. Aside from preying on the vulnerable in disaster-stricken areas, these syndicates also use the Internet for sex trafficking.”

To put an end to this complex web of the illegal human trade, Legarda said, the NBI and the Philippine National Police must beef up their efforts to arrest members of these syndicates.

“Strengthening coordination with international police groups is a must,” she added.

Legarda issued the statements following reports that police organizations in the Philippines, Britain and Australia have been working together to break up a pedophile ring in the country that has been streaming live scenes of child abuse over the Internet.

She noted that “strengthened cooperation” and” improved coordination” among the three countries have led to the arrest of at least 11 suspects of online sexual abuse in the Philippines.

The International Justice Mission, among other organizations, she said, was also actively coordinating with Philippine police authorities and government social workers for the continuous conduct of rescue missions to save minors from online pornography.

“These successful anti-trafficking and anti-cyber pornography operations prove that our laws are effective if we know how to make them work,” said the senator.

“We must sustain these gains. We ensured the passage of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to strengthen our legal defenses against individuals and syndicates involved in the illegal human trade. The stricter provisions of the law should be matched with its effective implementation,” she said.

Legarda also underscored the need to have a law that would specifically address child cyber pornography. She then pushed for the immediate passage of the proposed Anti-Computer Pornography Act under Senate Bill No. 532.

“Advancements in the Internet and other technological media allowing communication to cross geographic and national borders in a matter of seconds, everything has now become reachable with the click of a button. Most of these technological advancements have been utilized by unscrupulous individuals for illegal activities,” she said.

“Through the proposed Anti-Computer Pornography Act, we aim to protect minors from indecent and immoral material transmitted through electronic mail and other electronic media. We need to immediately enact this measure to complement the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and safeguard the welfare of our citizens, particularly women and children,” the senator added.

Source: Inquirer