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ZAA. Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act

1. CONCEPT

“Children” – refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition; (Section 3[a], R.A. 7610, Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act)

2. CRIMES

a. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse

Children, whether male or female, who for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse. (Section 5[a], Ibid.)

The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:

1) Those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution which include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Acting as a procurer of a child prostitute;

(b) Inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means;

(c) Taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as prostitute;

(d) Threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or

(e) Giving monetary consideration goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to engage such child in prostitution. (Ibid.)

2) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse of lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subject to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victims is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period. (Section 5[b], Ibid.)

3) Those who derive profit or advantage therefrom, whether as manager or owner of the establishment where the prostitution takes place, or of the sauna, disco, bar, resort, place of entertainment or establishment serving as a cover or which engages in prostitution in addition to the activity for which the license has been issued to said establishment. (Section 5[c], Ibid.)

b. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation and Other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child’s Development

1) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period. (Section 10[a], Ibid.)

2) Any person who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who in ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000): Provided, That this provision shall not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty. (Section 10[b], Ibid.)

3) Any person who shall induce, deliver or offer a minor to any one prohibited by this Act to keep or have in his company a minor as provided in the preceding paragraph shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium period and a fine of not less than Forty thousand pesos (P40,000); Provided, however, That should the perpetrator be an ascendant, stepparent or guardian of the minor, the penalty to be imposed shall be prision mayor in its maximum period, a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000), and the loss of parental authority over the minor. (Section 10[c], Ibid.)

4) Any person, owner, manager or one entrusted with the operation of any public or private place of accommodation, whether for occupancy, food, drink or otherwise, including residential places, who allows any person to take along with him to such place or places any minor herein described shall be imposed a penalty of prision mayor in its medium period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000), and the loss of the license to operate such a place or establishment. (Section 10[d], Ibid.)

5) Any person who shall use, coerce, force or intimidate a street child or any other child to;

(a) Beg or use begging as a means of living;

(b) Act as conduit or middlemen in drug trafficking or pushing; or

(c) Conduct any illegal activities, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its medium period to reclusion perpetua. (Section 10[e], Ibid.)

PENALTIES: For purposes of this Act, the penalty for the commission of acts punishable under Articles 248, 249, 262, paragraph 2, and 263, paragraph 1 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for the crimes of murder, homicide, other intentional mutilation, and serious physical injuries, respectively, shall be reclusion perpetua when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age. The penalty for the commission of acts punishable under Article 337, 339, 340 and 341 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for the crimes of qualified seduction, acts of lasciviousness with the consent of the offended party, corruption of minors, and white slave trade, respectively, shall be one (1) degree higher than that imposed by law when the victim is under twelve (12) years age. (Last paragraph, Section 10, Ibid.)

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