Senators push for more funding vs human trafficking | Inquirer News

Senators push for more funding vs human trafficking

/ 05:05 AM November 15, 2023

Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) - Noy Morcoso /

Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) – Noy Morcoso /

Senators on Tuesday pushed for the granting of more funds to agencies to curb human trafficking activities in the country, many of which are linked to Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, urged the Senate committee on finance to increase the budget of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Enforcement Group (Atpeg), a task force under the Department of Justice (DOJ).


“These criminal activities are real and are already happening in our country, hardened criminals are operating in our country and syndicates freely roam within our jurisdiction. My fear is that these syndicates will soon transition from trafficking foreign individuals to trafficking our [own citizens],” he said.


Budget hike

Gatchalian proposed to increase the budget of the DOJ-Atpeg from P76 million in the general appropriations bill to P147 million, lamenting how the country has ranked second worldwide in the prevalence of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

“This is nothing to be proud of. It’s a damage to our reputation, and the human trafficking victims from Pogo counting at about 4,038 rescued in 2023,” he said.

The senator cited the recent raid conducted by the Interagency Council Against Trafficking against a licensed Pogo hub in Pasay City which housed a “sex den, a motel and a torture chamber all in one building.”

“[An additional budget] is to enable (the task force) to continue their work in rescuing human trafficking victims, as well as investigating and curbing online sexual abuse of our minors,” he said. INQ

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TAGS: human trafficking

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