The Philippine Government expressed solidarity and has committed to an all-out campaign against sexual child abuse online, a global malady which is now considered as one of the biggest crimes in the world.
Upon the invitation of EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder, fifty-four (54) member states, represented by their respective Attorney Generals and Justice Secretaries, gathered in Washington, D.C. for the second Minister’s Conference of the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online.
Undersecretary of Justice, Jose Vicente B. Salazar, who also heads the Philippines' Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), represented Secretary Leila M. de Lima in the said conference.
The Global Alliance was initiated in late 2012 with the intention of uniting policy makers, ministers and high-level officials all around the world in order to take advantage and make use of their respective offices to counter child sexual abuse online. It aims to bind their respective governments to effectively identify and rescue child sexual abuse victims, investigate and prosecute online exploitation offenses, increase public awareness of the risks posed by children’s online activities, and reduce the amount of child sexual abuse images available online. The conference gave global leaders and experts from the investigative, public policy, victim advocacy and legal arenas, a forum to share insights and experiences from combating online child exploitation.
“While the Philippine government finds itself ready and equipped to deal with this social menace, we are aware that this is a war we cannot fight alone,” Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar said. “Thus, it must be confronted and defeated through a global effort,” he added.
The conference culminated with the fifty-four (54) Alliance members signing a Ministerial Declaration that seeks to address trans-border obstacles in identifying and rescuing victims of exploitation.
Other specific commitments include the empowerment of law enforcement agencies among the Global Alliance Countries to gain access to electronic evidence from internet service providers (ISPs) and other repositories of electronic information which are relevant to the investigation and prosecution of offenses related to child sexual abuse. This initiative is to ensure that no nation will become a safe haven for such information.
The Philippines recognized the alarming pace at which child sexual abuse online has grown. In response, the Philippines reaffirmed its firm support for the initiatives and programs of the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online.
“We reiterate our firm belief in the power of international cooperation, in the efficient and effective sharing of information and resources, and in the invincibility of our common determination to protect our children from the predatory tendencies of the evil minds behind this menace,” Salazar said.