Out of the Shadows: The Philippines’ Response to Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Based on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest index

The prevalence of sexual violence against children has become a global issue that calls for immediate action. It comes in many forms not easily detected which in turn, affects a child’s quality of life. There are, however, ways as to how this sexual abuse can be prevented and these encompass efforts made by both the private and public sectors. In the Philippine context –while there are initiatives that target the pressing issue –the latest index shows that there are more that can be done.

The Philippines is among the middle and low-income countries that are featured as top performers with regards to the response against child sexual abuse. The index released on the Economist Intelligence Unit claims that the Philippines performs under strong legal framework and resources for professionals through The Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act – this operates as the parameters of action for law enforcement professionals. The “National Plan of Action for Children” is an initiative of its government in preventing sexual violence and abuse in the tourism industry. In terms of frontline support workers, different departments have “issued several guidance documents on interacting with children who are victims of exploitation.”

Legal framework, the environment, government commitment and capacity, and engagement of industry, civil society and media function are the main components in determining the rating for the index. It includes data and information from “34 indicators and 132 sub-indicators grouped into these four categories that measure the extent to which countries are acknowledging the problem of sexual violence against children, and whether they are implementing measures to address and prevent it”. (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2018).

Despite efforts made by the government, the private sector and civil society around the world, the Out of the Shadows data reveals that there remains a lack of child protection from this known abuse, unaligned with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a 16.2 target to end all forms of violence against children by 2030. These can be further improved through various schemes such as child-specific rape laws, offenders support and preventions, and tourism industry engagement.

Key findings from the Philippines country summary:

• Despite the travel and tourism operators’ adherence to the “Global Code of Ethics for Tourism” none of the national travel and tourism industry associations are signatories to this code.

• There is a lack of services or programs of prevention for prospective offenders nor services for those at risk of reoffending.

• The Philippine laws regarding rape do not specify more severe punishment for offenses against children.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU)

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) is the research arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist. As the world’s leading provider of country intelligence, it helps governments, institutions and businesses by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis of economic and development strategies. Through its public policy practice, The EIU provides evidence-based research for policymakers and stakeholders seeking measureable outcomes, in fields ranging from gender and finance to energy and security. It conducts research through interviews, regulatory analysis, quantitative modelling and forecasting, and displays the results via interactive data visualisation tools. Through a global network of more than 750 analysts and contributors, The EIU continuously assesses and forecasts political, economic and business conditions in more than 200 countries. For more information, visit www.eiu.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theeiu. 

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2018. Out of the shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation- a 40 country benchmarking index. The Philippines country summary. EIU, New York, NY.

Photo Credit: ohchr.org

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