Trafficking alarming amid serious crackdown
DESPITE the efforts of the different sectors of society to combat human trafficking, its occurrence remains alarming.
According to Andrey Sawchenko, national director of the International Justice Mission of the Philippines,” since human trafficking continues to happen and the actions to meet the crime is not yet fully addressed, its prevalence is still an alarming fact.”
Sawchenko, however admits that in the past three to five years, the implementation of the anti-human trafficking law has been taken seriously, especially in Cebu.
In the last two years, Cebu courts have made at least three convictions against human traffickers.
Last week, the manager of Club Harem, Nicole Cabillan was sentenced to life imprisonment. The case stemmed from a raid on the bar in Mandaue City in January 2006.
Two weeks ago, Valentino Martin, owner of the brother Gate 3 in barangay Banilad was sentenced to 20 years in prison
In March last year, a Cebu court sentenced two pimps to life imprisonment.
Because of this, initiatives to fight against human trafficking such as protection, prevention and prosecution activities are already visible.
Human trafficking is a crime that deals with trading persons, against their will or through deception, or taking advantage of the person’s vulnerability, for the purpose of exploitation.
Traffickers often lure their victim to leave their community and under false pretenses of legitimate work outside their homes.
Experts have identified several factors which might have pushed people to be victims of human trafficking.
Poverty, lack of education, corruption, are the most commonly identified reasons why people resort to working away from home and thus, result in being trafficked, said Violeta Cavada, head of Mandaue City Social Welfare Office.
In the Philippines, Cebu is considered to be one of the top cities with the most number of children and women being trafficked from the rural areas, based on the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the US Department and State.
According to the report, women from the Philippines were subjected to sex trafficking in Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Syria.
As of March 2013, 524 lives were rescued by law enforcement from sex trafficking since June 2004 in Metro Cebu, based on the records of IJM.
Meanwhile, the Cebu Provincial Police Office have recorded 21 cases of human trafficking with 44 victims rescued in eleven towns in the province of Cebu since December 2008 up to March 2013.
The victims were then brought into the Department of Social Welfare and Development where they underwent a series of counseling and debriefings in order to recover from their trauma.
This year, the anti-trafficking law has strengthened in the country.
The Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act was approved by the Philippine Government, which strengthens the existing law by implementing a higher penalty to the punishable acts of trafficking where traffickers as well as their accomplices can be prosecuted. /Joy Cherry Quito, Correspondent
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