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PLDT and Smart pledge continued support for anti-child abuse, trafficking programs

In light of the culmination of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership between the United States and the Philippine governments, PLDT and Smart Communications pledged to continue enabling programs of the Philippine Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) and International Justice Mission (IJM) for Filipino children.

“We share in the goal of the DOJ-IACAT and IJM to protect Filipino children, and thus remain steadfast in sharing our enabling technology to help prevent online child abuse,” said Catherine L. Yap-Yang, first vice president and group head for Corporate Communications, PLDT.

Formalized in 2017, the CPC aimed at boosting the national response to online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking, specifically in line with the prosecution, victim care, and crime prevention.

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At the recent “Child Protection Continues: Until All are Free” virtual engagement, IJM said that the COVID-19 lockdowns in the country have led to a “perfect storm,” with IJM Regional Vice President of IJM Global Programs Against Online Sexual Exploitation of Children Atty. Samson Inocencio noting a spike in the demand for live-streamed sexual exploitation of children as they spend more time at home.

“Ending this crime needs a whole-of-society approach, and we at IJM are grateful for Smart and PLDT for actively contributing solutions. We remain committed to working with the private sector to elevate public awareness and innovate solutions for improved crime detection and reporting,” Inocencio said.

Public and private sector

DOJ-IACAT Undersecretary-in-Charge Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said, “I am proud of our government’s efforts to actively engage civil society and the private sector in addressing online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking, particularly through capacity training, advocacy efforts, and rescue and reintegration of survivors.”

PLDT and Smart earlier provided connectivity for the advanced investigative workshops of the Philippine National Police on online sexual exploitation of children. The telcos further worked with the DOJ-IACAT on a dialogue with law enforcers on telco solutions to combat such crime.

To educate and engage communities on solutions against online sexual exploitation of children, PLDT and Smart tapped IJM as a key resource to the #CyberSmart Caravan for schools and local government units. Smart also offered its InfoCast service for the DOJ-IACAT’s information dissemination programs and community feedback systems.