Ginger Ramirez lives in the Philippines and is a Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery (MMSc-GHD) candidate at the Harvard Medical School.
FXB: What do you see as the biggest overall challenges in Child Protection these days?
Ginger Ramirez: Mechanisms for exploitation and trafficking of children are evolving and so approaches for prevention, early detection, rescue, and litigation ought to be adaptive to the changing context. Online sexual exploitation, for example, poses difficulties in child protection with the extensive reach using digital media and tools, increasing the risk of exploitation of children.
FXB: How do you think academic and scholarly work can inform child protection approaches? Have you seen any good examples of this in the real world
Ginger Ramirez: Data is knowledge and knowledge is power. A better understanding of the issue in all its complexity may provide focused guidance that governments, institutions and other non-profit organizations can make use of. Recently (2020), a report was published about Online Sexual Exploitation in the Philippines, which provides insight to the scope of the problem in the country (and in other parts of the world), as well as appropriate recommendations to improve detection and reporting, law enforcement and trauma-informed care.
FXB: If you work in a specific region, are there region-specific challenges you see? How do you hope to see these addressed?
Ginger Ramirez: The Philippines is considered a global hotspot for online sexual exploitation and we need to act strategically with a sense of urgency to address this issue. There is a need for effective collaboration between various stakeholders both locally and internationally, including those within the tech and financial industries in the early detection, disruption of crimes and rescue of victims.
As a public health professional working on mental health, trauma-informed aftercare that provides adequate psychosocial support is an essential part of acute and long-term care. In the Philippines, I look forward to seeing how the Mental Health Act and the Universal Health Care Law can support provision of quality services that can promote child protection and assist victims towards their recovery.