World Vision’s 60th Anniversary Press Luncheon | March 23, 2017
Miss Global Philippines 2016 Camille “CJ” Hirro is World Vision’s newest ambassador for the protection of children against sexual exploitation, whether in person or online.
In line with the celebration of its 60th year in the Philippines, the Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization launched its latest campaign, “It Takes a World to End Sexual Exploitation of Children”, which aims to reach and protect at least three million Filipino children against sexual abuse by 2020.
“One of the most important and immediate perquisites of winning a national pageant like Miss Global is being promoted to a status of credibility,” the Kapampangan beauty said in an interview.
“It’s a privilege. It’s a special power. People listen to us. Children look up to us. I want to use this status that I enjoy advocating for more meaningful causes like women empowerment, accessible education, or in this case for World Vision, protection of children from sexual crimes,” Hirro added.
The Philippines ranks tenth in the world when it comes to sexual exploitation of children aged 10-14. A heartbreaking 17 percent of Filipino children experience sexual violence while growing up. One out of ten encounters sexual violence in the home. Data also reveal that 50% of reported cybercrime cases involve online child abuse.
Atty. Sam Inocencio, Country Director of the International Justice Mission (IJM), said that the glaring numbers grow by the day. “Sexual crimes against children referred to the justice department grew by 100 percent from 2014 to 2015. The referred cases doubled from about a thousand to two thousand,” Inocencio disclosed.
“It’s devastating,” World Vision Advocacy Manager Kathrine Yee said in her speech. “This is an urgent matter. We need to educate and empower the children and the caregivers, work closely with the government, and get influencers to send the message out and get all stakeholders involved.”
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo echoed Atty. Inocencio’s concern, lamenting that victims usually either come from poor families, are children of OFWs, or children from disaster-prone areas.
World Vision, in partnership with the IJM, DSWD, and the Inter-Agency Against Trafficking (IACAT), hopes to raise more awareness and resources to mobilize and better address the issue of sexual violence on children, especially online. Funding and volunteers would be needed for prevention training, rescue operations, aftercare and reintegration programs, and engagement of children survivors to be better and effective advocates.
Atty. Inocencio added that there is a need to transform the justice system into one that’s functional and accessible.
CJ Hirro joins the ranks of other World Vision celebrity ambassadors like Marc Nelson for Disaster Risk Reduction, Joyce Pring for Child Sponsorship, Jasmine Curtis-Smith for Youth, Tintin Bersola-Babao for Nutrition, Bianca Umali for Education, Miriam Quiambao for Child Protection, and National Ambassadors Tippy dos Santos and Sam Concepcion, among others.
Camille Hirro is the third winner of Miss Global Philippines. She is the first beauty queen to represent the Philippines in an international pageant with short hair. She is Ecuador’s Angela Bonilla’s First Runner-Up in the Miss Global 2016 pageant. Hirro is an event and TV host, a voice talent, and a political writer.