MANILA—The Philippines placed 16th out of a list of 40 countries ranked based on their response to sexual violence against children, a study by the Economist Intelligence Units (EIU) revealed Wednesday.
"The Philippines has a strong legal framework in place to combat child sexual exploitation, as well as a national plan to guide future steps," the research group said.
"Laws to protect children against sexual abuse and institutional and industry-led support could be further developed."
The Out of the Shadows Index evaluated the countries in 4 categories: "environment," "legal framework," "government commitment and capacity," and "engagement of industry, civil society, and media."
The Philippines scored an overall 55.3 percent, landing in the second quartile.
In the "environment" category, which considers the safety and stability of a country, it garnered 55.4 percent.
The Philippines received 66.4 percent in the "legal framework" category, which measures regulatory protections for children from sexual exploitation.
In terms of "government commitment and capacity", which ranks countries on how equipped its institutions and personnel are to respond appropriately, the country garnered 56.2 percent.
In the "engagement of industry, civil society, and media" category, which evaluates the country's efforts to tackle the problem, the Philippines scored 45 percent.
WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE?
EIU noted that the Philippines's national travel and tourism industry associations are not signatories to the "Global Code of Ethics for Tourism," which prioritizes the prevention of child sexual exploitation.
The Philippines, EIU added, does not have a program that prevents prospective offenders from committing a sexual offense against a child.
The country's rape law also doesn't specify more severe punishment for offenses against children, EIU said.
United Kingdom topped the list with an overall score of 82.7 percent. Sweden was in second place (81.5), with Canada in third spot (75.3).
Pakistan, meanwhile, was at the bottom with 28.3 percent.
The research program, Out of the Shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation, was developed by EIU with support from the World Childhood Foundation, Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation.
The 40 countries included in the index cover 70% of the global population under 19 years of age.