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City checks trafficking at airport

/ 09:04 PM July 22, 2012

DAVAO CITY—The city government has stepped up its drive against human trafficking by setting up a desk at Davao International Airport on Friday.

The desk, set up at the lobby of Davao International Airport, will be manned by personnel trained in identifying signs of a trafficking situation.


Mayor Sara Duterte said among the latest victims in Davao City is a 23-year-old nurse whose parents alerted her of their missing daughter in June this year. The nurse, however, had recently been found in a Malaysian jail.

Lawyer Antonio Arellano, regional director of the Department of Justice (DOJ), said the Philippines was set to lose some


$300 million worth of financial assistance from the US government if it could not improve its poor showing in the US watch list on human trafficking.

He said from 2005 to 2009, the country had been doing poorly in the antitrafficking campaign with only three convictions, making it to the tier 3 on the US watch list, which means the country is doing something but not enough.

“But we are fighting human trafficking not because we want to avail of the US financial assistance but because human trafficking is a scourge to humanity, a violation of basic human right,” Arellano said during the launch of the airport desk to spot and rescue potential trafficking victims.

Arellano said only a few among the human trafficking cases reached conviction because the rescued victims, who usually make the strongest witnesses against human trafficking syndicates, were already gone at the time of the trial, hence, most of the cases were usually dismissed.

He said the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Human Trafficking had set up a body that would look into the needs of the rescued victims so  they would be there throughout the trial. Aside from the three convictions, the DOJ has also filed at least 16 cases of human trafficking in the region. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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