trafficking press conference. From L-R, Atty. Maria Roda
Cisnero (IJM), Asst. City Prosecutor Jed Ng (IACAT) and DSWD-8
officer Charis Rosal.
activities more likely to increase in EV
By RAY P. GASPAY
September 2, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – Anti
human trafficking groups in the country feared that human trafficking
activities might increase in eastern visayas after super typhoon
Yolanda hit the region in November last year.
In a press conference held
in this city today attended by anti-trafficking groups International
Justice Mission (IJM) and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT)
and with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the
region (DSWD-8), the group stressed that it is a common occurrence for
human trafficking activities to increase in a highly devastated area
considering that the affected people are in immediate needs for
In a status report of human
trafficking in the region by the social department, DSWD officer
Charis Rosal said that there was a significant increase of the total
cases reported from 38 as of 2013 to 44 as of the 2nd quarter of 2014.
"Most of the recent victims are from the Yolanda affected areas
because of the need for money. Victims are even aware that they will
end up in prostitution, and yet parents are even pushing their
children for recruitment", Rosal stressed.
The DSWD in the region is
now campaigning hard against human trafficking thru the conduct of
forums and awareness programs in every locality up to the barangay
level. "The increase in cases reported for trafficking could be the
result of our massive campaign. People are now starting to report
suspected trafficking", said social worker information officer Vina
The Inter-agency Council
Against Trafficking Regional Task Force headed by city prosecutor
Ruperto Golong reported that the total cases now filed in court is 45
as of August 2014.
The fight against
trafficking in the region is still in its early stage. "As of date,
there's still no conviction in human trafficking cases filled in our
courts in the region. Some cases were even dismissed due to
non-appearance of the victim for 3 consecutive court hearings", city
prosecutor Golong said. The national figure from the IACAT shows that
indeed there was low conviction of human trafficking in the country
with only 29 from year 2005-2010 though drastically increased to 93
from year 2010 to April of 2014, totaling 122 convictions.
Human trafficking refers to
the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of
persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or
across national boarders by means of threat or use of force, or other
use of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of
position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person.
The anti-trafficking law,
Republic Act No. 9208 was enacted into law in 2003.
IACAT national officer Atty.
Jed Ng, in the press conference, informed that an inter-agency, with
the funding support of the UNICEF, is now in its effort in
establishing Help Desks in various sea ports and bus terminals in the
region in a move to prevent trafficking activities, especially that
Yolanda affected areas are now very much vulnerable.