Philippine guidelines on human rights standards for the
Philippine Guidelines on
Human Rights Standards for
the Trafficked Child
Who is the Child?
A child is any person under eighteen (18) years of age or
one who is over eighteen (18) but is unable to fully take
care of or protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect,
cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of physical
or mental disability or condition.
What is Child Trafficking?
Child trafficking is the:
Recruitment, transportation, transfer,
harbouring or receipt of a child
use in illicit or illegal activities
participation in armed conflict
marriage that ends in the exploitation
of the child
for the purpose of
exploitation, within or outside a country,
child pornography and other forms of
forced labour or services,
slavery or practices similar to
removal and sale of organs
What is a Trafficked Child Entitled
A trafficked child has the right to full respect and exercise
of his/her survival, protection and participation, as
recognized under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The best interests of the child shall be the primary
consideration in all actions concerning a trafficked child.
“Best interests” of the child means…
The totality of the circumstances and conditions most
favourable to the survival, protection and feelings of
security of the child, and are most encouraging to his/her
physical and emotional development. It also means finding
and adopting the least detrimental alternative for protecting
and supporting the child.
Right to Non-discrimination
a trafficked child has the right to the same protection and
the rights in the country or place of origin, transit and
destination regardless of status, nationality, race, color,
gender, language and cultural ethnic and religious
Right to self-expression
A trafficked child can and should be
allowed to freely express his/her views in
all matters affecting him or her.
Right to Information
A trafficked child has to have access to information
about all matters affecting him or her.
Right to Confidentiality
The privacy and identity of the trafficked child shall
always be protected.
Respect for the Child’s Ethnic,
Cultural and Faith or Religious
Measures shall be undertaken to have
an enabling environment for the
practice or exercise of the child’s
ethnic, cultural and religious beliefs.
Responsibility of the State
Take positive action to combat child
trafficking and protect and assist trafficked
Put in place appropriate legislative, judicial
and other measures to protect and assist
Allocate the necessary annual budget to
ensure support for trafficked children to
protect them from traffickers’ reprisal and
their access to health/psychosocial
Provide necessary resources to implement
capacity building programs for service
providers and launch public information
Take pro-active measures to protect service
Establish practicable measures to protect
children during and after emergency
situations that increase their vulnerability.
Exert effort to enter into extradition treaties
and other bilateral or multilateral
agreements to enhance prevention of
trafficking and protection of trafficked
Upon identification of a trafficked child or even possibly trafficked
child, any person should immediately contact the:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (including any of
its office in your local area);
Non-government Organization (NGO) licensed or accredited by
the DSWD to assist a trafficked child;
Parents or guardian of the child.
Determine whether the person is a
child through the following:
His/her birth documents
Identification cards (including school ID)
School records, medical or dental records acquired
with the child’s consent
A statement from the person affirming he/she is a
Other legally recognized documents attesting
to the birth or age of the trafficked person,
including documentation of cultural or
religious practice reflecting his/her age
If the age of the person can’t be verified
immediately, he/she shall be considered a
child and given special protection stated in the
Specific guidelines on initial
Always ensure that the right to privacy of the trafficked child is
protected; there should always be caution against media exposure and
To ensure his/her security, the trafficked child whereabouts should be
Immediately removed the trafficked child from the place where he/she
has been found and bring him/her to a safe location, preferably with a
The police station or detention center is not the safe place
for the child.
At no time should the trafficked child be placed in the same
room or in direct contact with the suspected traffickers.
The law enforcement officer should assist the trafficked
child in retrieving his/her personal belongings
Conducting an interview with the
A law enforcer interviewing a trafficked child has to ensure that the
following special protection measures are given to the child:
Conduct the interview in a language easily understood by the
Provide a qualified interpreter/translator if the child needs one;
Talk to the child in the presence of a social worker,
parent/guardian or trusted adult he/she chose;
During the interview, the child should be in a child-friendly
environment and his/her privacy should at all times be respected;
If a video camera or tape recorder will be used, the trafficked
child, his/her parent/guardian or social worker should have agreed;
When the interview is over, the child has to be immediately turned
over to the custody of the parent/guardian, social worker or
Providing interim care and support
to trafficked child
Healing and recovery are the primary objective of this interim care.
Immediate counselling and psycho-social services should be made
Additional support such as legal aid and trainings in vocational skills
and other forms of education should be provided.
The trafficked child and his/her family should have access to
appropriate services provided by mandated and relevant government
Trafficked children with special needs,
such as pregnant children, children with
disabilities and those with mental or
health concerns should receive protection
and assistance appropriate for their
What is a safe environment for the
A trafficked child should not be placed in detention centers, prison
cells or other detention facilities for children/adults, including within
military bases. He/ she should not be in the private custody of law
A shelter, home, or crisis centers should:
Not resemble jails or serve as detention centers;
Improve facilities to suit the trafficked child’s needs;
Have well-trained, competent staff, including social
workers trained in case management and the running of
facilities for children; and
Consider the gender of the staff vis-a-vis the needs and
condition of the trafficked child.
Trafficked children who are not residents or
national of the Philippines are also entitled to
interim care and protection
They are not to be treated as illegal migrants.
If they do not have legal documentation, they will be
assisted by pertinent government agencies to immediately
secure legal status.
Examples of these legal documents are
temporary visa and other visa arrangements.
They are to be exempted from all government
fees and charges normally required in
obtaining legal status
Filipino children trafficked abroad
should also receive care and support
In the case of children born abroad to trafficked Filipinos, the
Department of Foreign affairs (DFA) will facilitate the issuance of the
children’s certificate of birth registration. It shall also negotiate with
the host country for the regularization of stay of the trafficked
children and obtain highest possible level of protection for them.
For a trafficked child in the Philippines who is not a
The DFA will inform the nearest embassy/consulate of the
trafficked child’s country of origin about the child’s
situation unless he/she wants to claim refugee status in the
The trafficked child of foreign citizenship is entitled to
appropriate services and other types of assistance from the
Whenever possible, the country or origin of the
trafficked child of foreign citizenship will cover the
costs of repatriation from the Philippines. If it is not
financially possible for the country of origin, the
Philippines with assistance from international
organizations shall provide assistance.
For a Filipino trafficked child in
In coordination with the DfA, the Philippine embassy or
consulate in the country where the Filipino trafficked child is
found will facilitate the immediate repatriation of said child.
If it were in the best interest of the child to be returned to the
Philippines, the embassy or consulate shall immediately
provide child travel documents and work with the DSWD for
his/her safe return to the country.
But if repatriating him/her will put the child at
greater risk, the DFA shall negotiate with the
host government for extension of residence
permits for the child, or the Philippine
embassy/consulate will provide the child with
temporary shelter and the assistance he/she
It is the continuing responsibility of the
Philippine embassy/consulate in the country
where the Filipino trafficked child is found to
monitor his/her condition and status, until he/she
Managing the case of a trafficked
Case assessment is handled by a social worker
with intensive training in child protection.
A multi-disciplinary team oversees the
development of the management intervention
plan for each child. This same team ensures
the implementation of the plan.
This plan considers the preservation and
integrity of the trafficked child’s ethnic,
cultural, faith-based and religious identity.
If it were in the child’s best interests, reuniting
him/her with the family in his/her country or place
of origin becomes an important task of the social
worker handling the case.
In the case of cross-border trafficking, the embassy
or consulate in the Philippines of the trafficked child
with foreign nationality will be contacted unless the
child claims refugee status.
To ensure the long-term safety of the trafficked
child, continuous risk management should be put in
What to Do During Criminal
Fully inform the trafficked child at all
times of the risks as well as advantages
associated with a criminal proceedings;
this must be done in a language he/she
Give the child the time he/she needs in deciding
whether to cooperate or not; when he/she decides
to do so, get his/her statement in the soonest
Important information shall be given to the child
that the suspect, arrested without warrant, may be
allowed to go without his/her statement, but this
should not be used to coerce the child to talk if
she/he is not ready
Other Guidelines During Criminal
The lack of statement from the child victim
should not prevent the law enforcers from
continuing with its investigation, surveillance
and evidence gathering.
The filing of case should not be a hindrance to
the child’s reunification with his/her family.
At all stages of the criminal proceedings , the
trafficked child should be provided with free
and competent legal representation. The DOJ
shall establish mechanism for this kind of
support in cooperation with the Commission
on Human Rights (CHR), Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), NGOs and other volunteer
For the part of the State, it shall consider the
confiscation, freezing and forfeiture of the
assets of the trafficker/s so that the proceeds of
the sale of such property maybe used for the
payment of compensation or outstanding
liabilities to the trafficked child.
The trafficked child and his/her
parents/guardian should be informed of
possibilities to claim compensation from the
damage resulting from being trafficked
Civil actions are impliedly and simultaneously
instituted in the criminal case. In such a case,
the prosecutor serves as legal counsel for the
The victim and witness protection
Special protection measures should be put in place
to ensure the safety of the victim-turned-witness and
that of his/her family or of other persons significant
Social workers, law enforcers and prosecutors must
inform the trafficked child of the Witness
Protection, Security and Benefit Program and when
applicable, assist the child in applying for coverage
in the program.
Social workers, law enforcers and prosecutors
must also inform the trafficked child that he/she
may apply for compensation with the Board of
Claims, within six (6) months from the date of
the trafficking incident.
The right of the trafficked child to privacy should
be protected and respected at all times during the
investigation and trial.
Law enforcers, prosecutors and other judicial
authorities, and service providers should
ensure the confidentiality of the proceedings.
The media should be informed to strictly
observe the trafficked child’s right to privacy
Under the guideline on victim and
witness protection, the following
shall be the State’s role:
Ensure the proper implementation of special
court procedures sensitive to the needs of the
trafficked child, such as the taking of depositions,
admission of video-taped interviews, testimony
through closed circuit television, with the aim of
minimizing the child’s physical presence in the
court room and/or confrontation with the
trafficker/s during trial.
Establish more Family Courts with facilities
friendly and/or sensitive to the trafficked
Work towards resolving and deciding on the
cases as expeditiously as possible.
Identification of long –term solutions
The most appropriate long –term solution from
the trafficked child will be identified and
worked on by the handling social worker, in
coordination with the local social welfare and
development officer in the place of origin, and
non-government organizations in both places
of origin and destination, and in consultation
with the child’s family.
The trafficked child should also be consulted,
including on the decision if he/she wants to be
returned to his/her place of origin or be
reunited with his /her family.
Important considerations must be
given to the:
Child’s age, maturity and evolving
Family background, environment and other
circumstances, risk of reprisal from
traffickers and security capability in the
place of origin; and
Presence of suitable care arrangements in the
place of origin where the child will be
returned; in the place of origin,
parents/guardian, relatives, social welfare
service providers and the State are responsible
for the care and protection of the trafficked
Care and protection for service
The State will develop a mechanism for
providing compensation to service providers
who are injured or harmed in the process of
protecting and/or assisting a trafficked child,
especially harm resulting from reprisals
In case a trafficker files a suit against
service providers for acts they have done
while providing assistance to a trafficked
child, the State will provide them legal
protection and free legal assistance, which
may include, but not limited to, legal
counselling, preparation of pleadings,
filing of action in courts and legal
Training programs for service providers will be
developed and implemented. Service providers
will also be given access to other kinds of
trainings and education opportunities that will
help improve their knowledge of and skills in
child protection and rights.
Service providers will be trained in the use of
The State will allocate the necessary fund for
these capability building activities.
Awareness, seminars and other
activities/trainings will be conducted to raise
the awareness of children, families and
community leaders and members so that
they will all participate in the protection of
children and care of trafficked chldren.