Children in Need of Special Protection






© UNICEF Philippines
Before the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act was passed in 2006, children in conflict with the law were thrown into adult jails with subhuman conditions and hardened criminals.

More children in the Philippines are becoming victims of abuse, violence and exploitation.  Nearly 1.7 million children do not have birth documents and having no birth documents deprives them of basic health, educational and protection services. In addition, the country lacks a national child protection monitoring and reporting system to determine the exact number of children in need of special protection, such as victims of abuse, violence and exploitation.

Despite recent economic gains, 36.8 per cent of the population still lives in poverty, with 47.5 per cent living on less than US$ 2 per day. Poverty has pushed many children to work to fend for their families, which usually places them in situations of abuse and exploitation. According to a 2009 study by the National Statistical Coordination Board, at least 4 in 10 Filipino children live in poverty.  It noted that poverty is highest among children of fisher folk, farmers, migrants and workers in the informal sector.

Children affected by armed conflict is also a concern. It is estimated that 30,000-50,000 children in the Philippines are displaced every year as a result of armed conflict. Basic services in most conflict-affected communities are often either absent or severely deficient. This situation has driven some children to become involved with armed groups. 

The continuing exodus of educated and skilled Filipinos to work abroad, among them young mothers who leave their children in the care of others, is also a factor adversely affecting children.





Real lives

Michelle, 16, lives alongside one of Manila’s largest garbage dumps. Her mother can’t afford to send her to school.
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Caridad, 12, lives at a halfway house for abused children. She was raped by six neighbours in her village.
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