Access to Justice for Children
INTERNATIONAL CHILD REDRESS PROJECT
HOW CAN THE LAW HELP CHILD VICTIMS?
Helping child victims of transnational sex crimes in Southeast Asia to access remedies
Transnational sex crimes against children
Hundreds of vulnerable children from poor communities throughout Southeast Asia are being sexually exploited by foreign men. National law enforcement agencies such as the NCA in the UK, ICE in the US, and AFP in Australia, are making significant efforts to find Western perpetrators and prosecute them.
However, the child victims are left in the care of their local social services, which in poor communities often struggle to respond to the children's needs for protection from further abuse, and to provide essential recovery services for them.
Making the perpetrators pay for the solution
The Western perpetrators of child sex crimes can be sued under their own national laws, for compensation by the child victims, in theory for significant sums of money. But right now, few cases are being brought. This is because transnational compensation claims are complicated, and require coordination between different legal systems, NGOs, lawyers, parents, and children.
However, if compensation cases can be brought successfully, then potentially significant sums of money can be claimed from the perpetrator. This could result in the perpetrator funding recovery services for the victim, and potentially also other services to address the reasons that the child and their community became vulnerable to exploitation in the first place. It is possible that suing the perpetrators will also act as a deterrent for these kind of crimes.
We are building a network of specialised compensation lawyers in European and North American countries, which are some of the main source countries for perpetrators of child sex crimes. These lawyers are keen to bring compensation claims against perpetrators in their home countries. Our aim is to connect the child victims in Southeast Asia with these specialised lawyers, which involves working with local NGOs and social services.
Putting together the pieces in transnational legal cases
Right now we are looking into developing services of our own to fill an emerging gap in both capacity and expertise of existing NGO staff to identify victims, gather the necessary evidence, and support the child victim through the legal process.
At ICRP we believe that awarding large sums of money to individual children in poor communities can put them at greater risk of harm and even fuel the sex trade. That is why we work with communities and financial management experts using human centred design solutions to create locally appropriate ways to manage money awarded as compensation.
Promoting community ownership of the legal problem and encouraging community generated solutions.
Our approach is to work with a multi-disciplinary team made up not just of foreign and local lawyers, but also psychologists, social workers, and community development workers. This team will come partly from the child's community, and will come together to meet with local leaders, family members, and other child victims in the area, to come up with a locally appropriate way to manage the compensation award. We use a human-centred-design approach, which means that we will work with the child and their community to understand their needs, and to find innovative solutions to meet those needs.
Our work in the Philippines
Community Dialogue Forum 2015
Clark, Pampanga, the Philippines
Child victims of sexual exploitation in the Philippines have a right to claim compensation from their foreign exploiters. But it is imperative to ensure that any compensation funds will be allocated in the best interests of the child, and will not provide a further incentive to abuse more children. That is why we went to the Philippines to hold a Community Dialogue Forum involving local community leaders, parents, police, social workers, and faith leaders, to discuss the causes of the growing child sex abuse problem in their community, and to discuss ideas around community-led approaches to managing compensation funds which involve using them to pay for sustainable recovery and prevention programmes for children.
The purpose of the forum was to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas, and to brainstorm possible ways of ensuring access to justice for child victims. The morning session started with some brief presentations to set the context and to provide necessary background information for discussion. The afternoon session consisted of group exercises based around key questions that ICRP were keen to pose to the community.
Download the report from the forum here: ICRP Philippines Community Forum March 2015
Community Dialogue Forum 2016
Cebu, the Philippines
ICRP held a Community Dialogue Forum in Cebu City, which is part of the Visayas region of the Philippines, on September 27th, 2016. The forum was held in partnership with the Philippines Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for Region 7, and the Children’s Legal Bureau. ECPAT UK also attended the forum and made a presentation.
The forum was well attended by over 40 people from the area, including police, cybercrime specialists, social workers, community based organisations, community leaders, faith leaders, parent leaders, teachers, and lawyers. This made for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives, from an inter-disciplinary group of people whose lives are directly affected by child sexual exploitation. The purpose of the forum was to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas, and to brainstorm possible ways of ensuring access to justice for child victims. The morning session started with some brief presentations to set the context and to provide necessary background information for discussion. The afternoon session consisted of group exercises based around key questions that ICRP were keen to pose to the community.
Our work in Cambodia
Community Dialogue Forum 2016
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
ICRP convened two forums in Cambodia in collaboration with APLE Cambodia: a community dialogue forum and a roundtable meeting with the ICT industry.
The community dialogue forum brought together stakeholders from ciivl society, UNICEF, the government, the private sector and youth, to discuss child sexual exploitation online, and how child victims can access meaningful remedies.
The roundtable meeting also included government and Cambodian private sector stakeholders, as well as a regional representative from Microsoft. ICRP encouraged the private ICT sector to consider their role as business leaders in helping to protect children from sexual exploitation online.
VISION & MISSION
The International Child Redress Project (ICRP) is an organisation working to ensure that all child abuse victims have access to remedies.
We aim to provide advice and support to empower local communities to recognise and advance children’s rights. We will further this aim by using domestic and international legal instruments, grassroots advocacy, educational tools and dissemination of knowledge.
We use the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide to our work. By using a child rights focused approach we aim to connect children everywhere with their right to be heard and protected from abuse and exploitation.
The child focused common aim of a worldwide network of professionals can only be achieved by engaging communities to understand the nature of the challenges they face that enable the exploitation of children to occur. We aim to provide legal assistance to child victims who would otherwise be deprived of remedies.
Our work draws on the expertise of academics, lawyers, medical professionals and NGOs to achieve our objectives. We intend to link such professionals worldwide to further our common aims.
WHO WE ARE
Emma is a human rights lawyer specialising in children’s rights. She has an LLM specialising in international children’s rights, and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a focus on children and development. Emma qualified as a solicitor and barrister in Canada. More recently Emma has been studying social innovation and design thinking, which she believes can be instrumental for the non-profit sector in creating effective, action-oriented and empowerment-focused projects.
Emma has over ten years experience working on public policy and advocacy related to legal empowerment and access to justice. Most recently in Southeast Asia she has been working on research and advocacy related to child victims of sexual exploitation. Emma was previously based in Kenya where she worked with a Kenyan NGO on their community justice project for women living with HIV, and also co-founded a now thriving business in Kenya, Bikram Yoga Nairobi. Emma has also worked on children’s rights in the UK, where she co-founded a community law centre project for children and young people, and in Canada where she was involved in research regarding the Canadian child protection system.
Zubier is a British solicitor and an expert in administrative law, civil liberties and human rights law.
Zubier has litigated in courts at all levels in both public and private law cases. His core client group consists of children, young migrants and victims of trafficking. Zubier has a long standing commitment to social justice.
He started his practice with housing and social welfare cases and developed expertise in community care matters. He co-authored a report for the UK Children's Commissioner, 'The Fact of Age' on the review of the age assessment caselaw and has delivered training to NGOs on developments in the law relating to young migrants.
Silvia Nicolaou Garcia
Silvia is a solicitor working at Maxwell Gillott in London, where she focuses on the rights of children and vulnerable adults. She has a particular interest in assisting unaccompanied minors and trafficked individuals.
Silvia also has international litigation experience and has worked on cases against UK corporations in relation to human rights abuses abroad.