This was the statement made by Mike Reynaldo of Plan Philippines during the the culmination of 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women at Farmer’s Training Center, University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Northern Samar. The event coincided with the observance of International Day Against Human Trafficking.
He said 300,000 to 400,000 estimated numbers of cases of women (reported and unreported) and 60,000 to 100,000 children were trafficked annually within and outside the country.
Typical victims are those with age ranging from 12-22 years old, mostly girls, first-time in the big city, willing to take risks, and who have no clear information about their destination, work and employers.
For children, victims were mostly girls, 12-17 years old, offered jobs in restaurants, promotion agencies, factories and households in Manila, most dropped out of high school, some used Birth Certificates of older siblings, mainly from poor areas, transported mostly over land and sea, leave in groups in tinted vans and eventually sold to customers and transit points used as “on-the-job-training” areas.
Women and children are vulnerable to trafficking because of poverty dysfunctional families, materialism, adventurism, peer pressure and lack of information.
Trafficked persons are forced into prostitution, forced labor and services, slavery-like practices, and removal and sale of organs. They experience abuse that ranges from physical injuries, sexual violence and sometimes, even death, Reynaldo said.
From July 2010 to October 2012, there were 52 recorded trafficked in person conviction and 70 persons convicted.
The Philippines, however, is making significant effort to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
A call to action is being pursued through the fundamental framework used by governments around the world to combat human trafficking, and these are: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships. (ADiaz/PIA8-Northern Samar)