UNICEF, child rights actors call for immediate passage of Anti Child Pornography bill
Mounts 10-day child pornography awareness campaign with NGOs, public and private sector
Manila, 27 May 2009 – UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, launched today a national awareness campaign on child pornography with NGOs, public and private sector. Through the “Silence is Acceptance” campaign, UNICEF urges the public to make noise and call on their lawmakers to put children first, by passing the Anti Child Pornography Act of 2009 before Congress goes on recess this June.
In spite of the Philippines’ ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2002, the government has not been able to fully comply with its obligations established in the Optional Protocol, especially in the area of child pornography.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2005 expressed to the Government of the Philippines its grave concern about the sexual exploitation of children, including growing child prostitution, and the reported cases of child pornography. This situation is made even worse in the light of the financial crisis which pushes poor families to turn to other ways of earning money.
In 2007, the UNICEF supported study done with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the Modus Operandi of Perpetrators of Child Pornography in the Philippines confirmed that child pornography syndicates already exist in the Philippines and that law enforcement response is hampered by the lack of a comprehensive law on child pornography that captures the new modes of producing, transmitting and distributing child pornography in cyberspace. The Internet has become a new playground for paedophiles and sex offenders.
“Child pornography is child abuse. The use of children and young people in pornographic materials is a grave violation of their rights, whatever their role in the process. The Philippines is believed to be one of the producers of pornographic material involving children, which is then sent around the world, often via the internet,” Ms. Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative said.
The ten-day “Silence is Acceptance” awareness campaign asks lawmakers to respond to the clamor for greater protection for children, as well as educates children, their families, media, academic, religious and human rights organizations on preventive measures to make cyberspace and other modes of communication safer for children. Other participating organizations in the campaign include the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), the Anti Child Pornography Alliance (ACPA), Microsoft Philippines, AKAP-BATA, Kabataan Consortium, Stairway Foundation, Share A Child Movement, ECPAT Philippines and PREDA, who will be conducting their own activities nationwide.
“The Philippines has no comprehensive law at the moment to prevent the spread of child pornography and the problem in the region and country is getting far worse. The passage of the anti-child pornography bill will be a great achievement for efforts to protect children and prevent the problem escalating even further,” Tobin said.