Speech by Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas
Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)
Good morning, on behalf of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Advocacy and Communications Committee of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT-ADVOCOM), I would like to thank the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) for this opportunity to be part of another worthy advocacy, this time against child pornography.
We cannot deny the fact that human trafficking preys on everyone but the most vulnerable are our children. Online child pornography has become a notoriously popular business of human traffickers where they can conveniently recruit their victims and transact their nefarious business using the internet.
What makes this crime even more heart-breaking is that parents and other members of the family are often involved who sell and use their children as a source of income or to pay their debts. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that a state party including the Philippines as one of the signatories should recognize that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. Thus, child trafficking can be the worst form of crime because it grossly violates children’s rights, rob them of their innocence and damage their future.
I am greatly honored that the Council has decided to include to the IACACP’s campaign the 1343 24/7 Actionline dedicated to counter human trafficking. Please be assured that your trust in choosing the 1343 as a medium for reporting will be amply rewarded. We also see this as a great opportunity for the 1343 Actionline to widen its coverage, work
with other advocates, build stronger networks and be more pro-active in going after verified online child pornography cases.
It has been five (5) years since the 1343 Actionline against Human Trafficking was established through the initiative of the CFO as Chair of the IACAT-ADVOCOM. Its creation is part of our effort to engage everyone in the fight against human trafficking, in line with the core message of “Laban kontra Human Trafficking, Laban nating lahat! Through the Public-Private Partnership program of the government, we joined forces with the Dynamic Outsource Solutions or DOS 1, a business process outsourcing company providing human resource and technical support to the Actionline.
As you may know, the 1343 is the first 24/7 national hotline which is primarily dedicated to campaign against human trafficking and other related cases which are a prelude to trafficking such as illegal recruitment, trafficking in the guise of intermarriage. It aims to receive and respond to requests for assistance, inquiries and referrals from victims including their families and the public.
Its accessibility is highlighted by the simple dialing of 1343 within Metro Manila and adding (02) when calling from the provinces. We are happy to report that from the use of telephones, 1343 has now evolved to more advanced media and technology such as the internet, social media and mobile application. Using these conduits we have increased the action line’s accessibility to the public especially the youth.
Since the operationalization of the 1343 Actionline in 2011, it has gathered 439 case reports involving 419 victims. These reports are handled in coordination with partners not only in the government but also with the private sector and civil society networks The
same referral mechanism will definitely be replicated for the IACACP and be instrumental in protecting the survivors of online child exploitation.
To conclude, I know that each one of you will have an important role in this advocacy. Through this training, you can refine your skills to be child-friendly officers and develop the much needed coordination and intervention procedure. Let us preserve and protect the rights of our children and not allow this crime to steal their future. We hope that together we will eventually make the Philippines, not a haven for the perpetrators of this crime, but rather the safest haven for our children.
Again, a pleasant day to all and Mabuhay tayong lahat!