The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has established a partnership with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to protect minors from child sex trafficking and bring criminals to justice.
CANADA AND THE PHILIPPINES TO WORK TOGETHER TO FIGHT CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
An agreement was signed between the RCMP and the NBI to further strengthen already established working relationships to better fight crimes against children, including prostitution, pornography and human trafficking.
Ralph Goodale, Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, released a statement, saying that “child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent and horrific crime that continues to place children in Canada and abroad at risk. Collaborative work between our two countries will better protect children from this scourge.”
Philipe Thibodeau, acting Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP’s Specialized Policing Services also said that “children and youth have the right to be protected and cared for by their family, society, and Government. These partnerships will help fight crimes against children that seriously endanger their health and psychological well-being.”
The partnership between the RCMP and the NBI will allow the two policing agencies to exchange information, identify victims of sexual crimes and provide support for the rights of victims during the investigation process.
The RCMP and the NBI will work cooperatively during investigations, sharing their agency’s unique areas of expertise. Education and training of officers from both agencies is also part of the partnership.
Thibodeau continued by saying that “the RCMP and Philippine authorities are building on an already successful working relationship to share information on all forms of child sexual exploitation and to provide advanced training in these complex investigations. This new agreement formalizes their respective roles and responsibilities and solidifies this important partnership.”
CANADA CREATES SPECIAL CENTRE TO FIGHT INTERNET-BASED CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
The RCMP created the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (NCECC) to help combat internet-based child sexual exploitation. Last year, the centre received over 60,000 reports of such criminal activity.
The Government of Canada has allocated more than CAD$19 over the next five years for the NCECC to increase their capacity to fight international criminals involved in child sexual exploitation.
The Government of Canada shares information with foreign governments, including the Philippine Government. Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents can be charged in Canada for sexual offences committed in foreign countries like the Philippines.
Non government groups working in the Philippines estimate that there are tens of thousands of children working in the sex trade, with many of them being victimized online.
US STATE DEPARTMENT IDENTIFIES THE PHILIPPINES AS SOURCE COUNTRY FOR CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
There were over 60,000 reports of online sexual exploitation involving children in 2018, according to an American source working with the anti-trafficking organization International Justice Mission (IJM).
Western nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom are increasing efforts in preventing their nationals from engaging in such illegal activity, which is widespread in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines.
Many victims in the Philippines are unable to get the support they need, fearing for their safety. Oftentimes, family members or relatives of the children involved are involved, making prosecution difficult.
The access to cheap, high-speed internet creates unique challenges to investigators as well, with video messaging making criminals very hard to trace.
In its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the US State Department identifies the Philippines as a source country of sex trafficking and forced labour.
10% of the Philippine population live and work overseas, with many of these Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) being subjected to sex trafficking and illegal recruitment.
OFWs often find themselves heavily in debt, paying third party representatives incredible amounts to work overseas for very little money.
The State Department report said that OFWs often work in low-skilled jobs abroad, including in the agricultural, healthcare and construction.
OFWs in hospitality and domestic work are also extremely vulnerable.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE
The report identifies women and children from the Philippines’ indigenous communities as being particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labour.
The Trafficking in Persons Report identifies tourist destinations such as Boracay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Puerto Galera and Surigao del Norte as hotspots for criminal activity involving minors in the sex trade.
The Government of Canada will be funding numerous projects in the Philippines, working with their partner organizations as it looks to promote gender equality and empowerment in the most vulnerable communities.
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