The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed its deep rejection of the existence of a network dedicated to child sexual exploitation in the Barú area, Chiriquí province and the border with Costa Rica.
“We recognize the work carried out by the criminal investigation bodies specializing in organized crime and trafficking, which together with Costa Rican authorities managed to identify, rescue and care for 10 children who were victims of sexual exploitation. We urge the competent authorities to also to continue with the pertinent investigations to determine the corresponding facts and responsibilities, prioritizing attention to the survivors to restore their rights and avoid their re-victimization,” Unicef said in a statement.
They stressed the importance of the State’s commitment to the implementation of a system for the protection and guarantee of children’s rights, which translates into actions by all entities to provide quality services to children and families, prevent all forms of violence against children and adolescents, as well as the strengthening of communities and families.
They called for the measures taken to protect child victims to guarantee the best interests of the child, that the violated rights be reestablished and that similar situations not be repeated with other children. “Let’s work together with families, communities, civil society, the private sector and the State so that every girl and boy in Panama can grow and develop in a safe and violence-free environment. The time is now,” they added.