EDITORIAL - A day for children
(The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2018 - 12:00am

Protecting children seems like a motherhood statement. And yet a drive around Metro Manila will show that this is a mission that is never finished. In the streets of the National Capital Region, homeless children rap on car windows, begging for alms or selling flower garlands.

The children are out in the streets late into the night, even when curfews are imposed, accompanying their parents in begging. In several cases, parents and guardians have been arrested for selling their children for prostitution and cyber porn. Other children are employed in labor situations that put their health at risk, such as in backyard operations to manufacture fireworks.

Worldwide, millions of other children face similar situations. Poverty drives the abuse, but there are also situations in which adults target children specifically for money-making exploitative activities. This is the case with international crime rings engaged in the sexual abuse of children. In our country, teenage girls are targeted for illegal recruitment and labor exploitation, in the cities and even for deployment overseas. A number of them have ended up in brothels abroad. In several countries, girls continue to be deprived of formal education.

Children in conflict zones, including those in the Philippines, also need special protection. There are documented cases of children being used as soldiers, couriers and sentinels of armed groups.

The Philippines joins the United Nations in observing World Children’s Day today. The special day is an opportunity to reaffirm commitments to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Those behind the awareness campaign are marking it as “a day for children, by children” – promoting measures to enhance the protection of children. The campaign to protect children will always be relevant. This is a campaign that must be perpetually sustained.

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