400 join biking vs human trafficking

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ILOILO CITY—Some 400 people, including artists, students and young professionals, pedaled through the city streets on Saturday to raise public awareness on human trafficking.

The Freedom Ride, led by the group Dakila, or the Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, kicked off from the Iloilo provincial capitol grounds at 7 a.m.

According to the organizers, Iloilo is one of the more vulnerable provinces for labor trafficking, especially with the number of overseas workers and seafarers coming from the province. Its proximity to Boracay and other tourist spots also make Iloilo a transit area for sex trafficking, they said.

In Western Visayas, Iloilo had the highest number of cases of trafficking in persons, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. From 2008 to 2012, it had 64 cases, of which 28 were recorded last year.

Negros Occidental had 24 cases; Antique, 19; Aklan, 15; and Capiz, six.

With the promotion of the 1343 Action Line—a 24-hour hot line established by the Commission on Filipino Overseas on 2011, victims of human trafficking may seek help while the public may report human trafficking cases.

For those in the provinces, the 1343 hot line can be accessed by dialing Manila’s area code (02) and the hot line number while text-based 1343 Action Line is also available to all Globe and TM mobile subscribers.

The Freedom Ride is supported by the Dutch Embassy, the Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

It will also be launched in Zamboanga and Dumaguete cities. Karen Bermejo, Inquirer Visayas

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